If you haven’t been to see the film Selma yet, here are 10 reasons why I think you should go.
- The film has some of the best acting you will ever see. Within moments, David Oyelowo is Dr Martin Luther King. And Carmen Ojogo is Coretta Scott King, Tom Wilkinson is President Lyndon B Johnson, Tim Roth is loathsome Governor George Wallace, and Oprah Winfrey is quiet, noble Annie Lee Cooper who you would easily pass by in the street.
- The cinematography is stunning. The views of people marching together over the bridge in Selma, Alabama will make every hair on your body stand up.
- Vintage news footage is used with truthfulness and skill.
- The musical score is thrilling. The title track Glory by John Legend and Common, who also stars in the film, is up for best original song at the Oscars. Play it when you have something difficult to do; it will feel a little easier.
- The story is told with limited dramatic adaptation. For example, King’s reported infidelities are not brushed over, nor are they over-emphasised. We get a hint of the power of the media to ruin people’s reputations – sadly, no change there.
- King is just 35 when the film is set. We already knew about his rhetoric. His responsibility, political nous and shared approach to making decisions would be extraordinary in a person twice his age.
- The film contains a pithy argument between LBJ and Wallace about doing something for the people who are being prevented from registering to vote. Pure gold advice for anyone in a position of responsibility who tends to avoid the messy stuff.
- The film has only been nominated for two Oscars – best picture and best original song. It should have been up for best actor, best supporting actor, best actress and best supporting actress at least. There are all sorts of reasons being given for the modest number of nominations for Selma. I expect the truth is pretty ugly. You should decide on this film’s merits for yourself.
- The world is in trouble. Young people need role models that can relate to, people who are brilliant yet flawed, who they can identify with. I’m sorry, but posh white boys from public schools are not enough any more.
- People are being discouraged from voting in our forthcoming UK general election by the likes of Russell Brand. How dare he? Although, given the way our media present politicians in 2015, can we blame those turned off voting? Selma is the best explanation possible about why having the vote is a fundamental human right. People continue to be prepared to die for it in our lifetimes. The least we can do is make sure we use ours.
I hope Selma wins Best Picture and Best Original Song at the Oscars tonight. But anyway, it is my film of 2015.
I hope it will be yours.