Follow Genre: Biography, Drama, History
Director: Ava DuVernay
Distributor: eOne
Duration: 131 minutes

Selma (Blu-ray) – Movie Review

Site Score
Good: Strong story, great acting, keeps you pondering afterwards
Bad: Pace is a bit (too) slow in the beginning, the threatening of the King family is too much in the background
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(1 votes)
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Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Martin Luther King Jr. played a major part in the fight against segregation and repression and Selma is basically a look at how Dr. King and his family, friends and companions tried to achieve equal voting rights for everyone, no matter the colour of their skin. Selma is based on true events so if you want to see some kind of flashback to the time where people were severely threatened or beaten because of the difference in origin, Selma is certainly worth a watch.


We find ourselves in the 1965, almost a century after the American Civil War took place. Although the African American population received the right to vote (as according to the Constitution, any citizen of the United States possesses this right), they often don’t make use of it. Not because they don’t want to because it’s quite the opposite. The reason for the lack of votes is because of the continuous threats and beatings the people receive when they try to vote like any other citizen. To demonstrate that kind of behavior, the movie lets us meet Annie Lee Cooper (Oprah Winfrey). As we first see her, Annie is sitting on a bench in some kind of state building. She looks nervous and looks around anxiously when the clerk at the end of the hall calls out her name so she can identify herself. Annie is here for one reason: she wants to register to vote. The clerk clearly doesn’t want her to claim that right and asks her the most impossible questions. After having recited part of the Constitution and answering the question on how many local judges can be situated in Alabama, the clerk asks her to give him each and every name of those judges. This is just an example of what Selma will shove in your face throughout the whole movie and it must be said: this really gets to you as a viewer.


Dr. King (David Oyelowo) starts to call out the African American population to support his cause and his co-workers suggest going to Selma to make a move. Eventually, the activists decide to organize a huge march from Selma to Montgomery but as we know from our history lessons, not everyone was very happy with that idea. Selma shows the struggles the group knew when trying to get the people in the whole world to know how the African American population was treated. It doesn’t take too long before both black and white folks alike travel to Selma to join the cause. Meanwhile, Martin has his own personal problems to deal with as his family keeps getting threatened by phone. The Montgomery march project puts an incredible strain on the relationship between King and his wife Coretta (Carmen Ejogo). Overall, the movie knows how to keep your interest but it isn’t without its lesser parts where not much is going on. The pace in the beginning is quite slow but the build-up towards the powerful ending feels just about right.

As Martin Luther King is not the easiest of characters to portray, actor David Oyelowo had one hell of a job to do, which he managed to perform in a very sincere way. Whilst it’s not easy to say that David possesses the same kind of charisma as Dr. King (you can’t replace the ‘real deal’ after all), he succeeds in bringing about such a charm and credibility that you’d be quite the critic to say the actor doesn’t fulfill the role like it should. Carmen Ejogo as King’s wife Coretta also plays her part with passion although we see much less of her than a lot of other characters and that’s a shame as she was very important to King together with the children and that relationship could’ve used some more screen time. No father wouldn’t mentally break when he hears how his wife and kids were threatened each and every day by total strangers. In Selma, those problems are mentioned briefly but it all feels a bit underwhelming.


One actress will probably get recognized by the majority of the viewers: Oprah Winfrey as Annie Lee Cooper. Most know her as a dynamic and really talkative person from The Oprah Winfrey Show but now, she’s Annie Lee Cooper, a rather timid and tranquil woman who wants nothing more than to receive the right to vote and to stop the injustice against her people. The character, although she’s certainly not the most striking one, is so strongly portrayed that you immediately sympathize with her. To change so much as a person on screen and putting down a performance like that, Oprah surely deserves a pat on the back or two.

The Selma Blu-ray comes with a fine deal of extras. There’s a lyric music video for the song ‘Glory’ sang by John Legend and Common plus a making of video. You can see how David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo and Oprah Winfrey experienced their roles as three of the most important characters in the movie and the list keeps going. It must be said: you get a lot of movie time with this Blu-ray.


Selma is a very strong, yet emotional rollercoaster as we see how both children and grown-ups are being maltreated because of the colour on their skin. Slowly, we see how the African American population decides to stand up against their suppressors, with Martin Luther King as their one and only leader. Although the slow build-up won’t suit everyone’s taste, this movie presents you with one of the most touching stories you’ll ever see on screen. The acting is impressive thanks to Oyelowo’s strong representation of King and Oprah Winfrey as the quiet but very strong-minded Annie Lee Cooper. If you like movies based on true events or just want to see something that will keep you pondering for a while, Selma is by far the movie to watch.

Left to right: David Oyelowo plays Martin Luther King, Jr. and Carmen Ejogo plays Coretta Scott King in SELMA, from Paramount Pictures and Pathé.

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Selma (Blu-ray) - Movie Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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