To start this review of Selma with a wee blurb about my opinions on the genre of biopics would simply be retreading over old ground; ground that I only recently covered in my Theory of Everything review.
So I won’t.
To learn about an issue is one thing, but it doesn’t necessarily make for must-see viewing, and I think that’s the problem here.
Or is it?
Perhaps Selma isn’t meant to entertain, but rather – 50 years on from the historically significant events of the march in that unassuming Alabama town – to inform those who never knew, or remind those who may have forgotten.
Because while American shouts from the rooftops about how it’s the greatest country on the planet, those boasts are juxtaposed against the sheer ignorance of its society back in those days (and possibly even now). It also should make people begin to understand why there is still tension to this day in areas of the country, as we saw recently in Ferguson.
Away from the story and message of the movie, the main thing that stuck out for me was the egotism of Oprah Winfrey, who – despite playing a character who was no more than an extra and played zero part in the unfolding of events – ensured she appeared on screen as much as possible. She felt like an extra who was trying to steal the spotlight with the help of the director.
That bugged me; it really did.
So Should You Go To See Selma?
As biopics go, I’d say there are more entertaining ones out there, not least the recent and aforementioned Theory of Everything.
But Selma carries with it a weighty message and an important history lesson that plenty of people in my generation and younger – outwith the US at least – should be made aware of.
Just don’t expect a rollercoaster of a plot along the way.