I walked into see the movie Selma last night white, alone, and clueless. I went two hours before to buy my ticket to make sure I got one–I was so afraid the showing I could attend would be sold out.
My mouth hung open a bit at how empty the theater was when I got there. It ended up maybe half full. Maybe.
I had taken a big step, one I never imagined I would in order to be there–I had come alone. I am not by any means a movie buff. I rarely want to go to a theater and I have never, at age 39, gone to a movie alone.
I went in with little knowledge of what I would see and left feeling very small that Martin Luther King, Jr. had changed a nation by the time he was 39 and here I had been proud at the fact that I was at the movie alone–at the same age.
Selma is the telling of a portion of the Civil Rights movement from the time Martin Luther King, Jr. won the Nobel Peace Prize until people of all races got the right to vote unencumbered in the United States of America.
It was told with stark reality and honesty.
I felt a myriad of emotions. Anger, lots of anger at the ignorance of those who wanted to withhold rights from others, sadness at the pain and death involved, joy as progress was made, and frustration that more people were not there to see this film.
Director Ava DuVernay did an amazing job telling the story with both strength and emotion. She went at it not just for or from the male perspective but also with the female voice.
“It was vital that they be included in this narrative. There was no other way I could be involved if they weren’t,”–Ava DuVernay on MSNBC.
Vital is right. They give a story that is about life, even more life. Her additions of the many strong women involved gives the fabric of the movie depth and movement.
I am by no means a movie critic, but I believe this movie to be the best I have ever seen, right up there with Schindler’s List of the 90s. It needs to be seen. By more than just the four white people in the theater I sat in last night, by more than just the half theater of people who came out last night. It needs to be seen. By the ticket taker at the movie counter (I told her just that), by the teens old enough to handle the level of reality, and every adult who can possibly get to the theater.
*Yes, there is some language and a time or two it is jarring, but I do not find it inappropriate or offensive.