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89

Universal acclaim - based on 46 Critics What's this?

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7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 244 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , , , , , , ,
  • Summary: In 1965, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (David Oyelowo) leads a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The march from Selma to Montgomery culminates in President Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the mostIn 1965, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (David Oyelowo) leads a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The march from Selma to Montgomery culminates in President Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement. Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 45 out of 46
  2. Negative: 0 out of 46
  1. Reviewed by: Calvin Wilson
    Jan 8, 2015
    100
    Oyelowo takes full advantage of his close physical resemblance to King, but he wisely avoids mere impersonation, delivering a performance that’s as sensitive as it is spellbinding.
  2. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Dec 23, 2014
    100
    With Selma, DuVernay has pulled off a tricky feat, a movie based on historical events that never feels dull, worthy, or lifeless; it hangs together as a story and not just part of a lesson plan. The movie is at once intimate and grand in scope.
  3. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Dec 24, 2014
    100
    Even if you think you know what’s coming, Selma hums with suspense and surprise. Packed with incident and overflowing with fascinating characters, it is a triumph of efficient, emphatic cinematic storytelling. And much more than that, of course.
  4. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Jan 3, 2015
    88
    Like "Lincoln," written by Tony Kushner and directed by Steven Spielberg, DuVernay's Selma ushers us into the world of the backstage, back-room and back-scratching political process, dramatizing how the sausage was actually made.
  5. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Feb 2, 2015
    88
    Selma may be flawed, even spurious at points. But in its larger portrait of a man of dignity, purpose, and courage, and in Oyelowo's performance as that man, the film rings true.
  6. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    Dec 26, 2014
    80
    The film's timing, in short, could hardly be more resonant. And DuVernay's most remarkable accomplishment may be that with such passion inspiring material, she has made such a measured, resolute and levelheaded film.
  7. Reviewed by: Steve Rose
    Dec 8, 2014
    60
    Unimpeachably important, ambitious in its scope and handsomely presented, it has all the hallmarks of a trophy winner, for better and worse.

See all 46 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 53 out of 65
  2. Negative: 10 out of 65
  1. Dec 25, 2014
    10
    It was magnificent! Director Ava DuVernay, short film director, really outdone herself! David Oyelowo as MLK, everything about this film asIt was magnificent! Director Ava DuVernay, short film director, really outdone herself! David Oyelowo as MLK, everything about this film as great! Well done! Expand
  2. Jan 16, 2015
    10
    It is rare to see a movie that is perfect. This is that movie. The portrayals all ring true and are close to what I remember seeing on TVIt is rare to see a movie that is perfect. This is that movie. The portrayals all ring true and are close to what I remember seeing on TV and hearing in church at the time. No, it does not intend or pretend to be a perfect recreation of history but it is eerily close. See this movie not only for its story and the importance of that story but as the epitome of the movie craft. Expand
  3. Mar 15, 2015
    10
    Wonderful film that should be seen by every American. We've made King into a cartoon character, much like we've done with Washington andWonderful film that should be seen by every American. We've made King into a cartoon character, much like we've done with Washington and Lincoln. This film shows him for what he was: A man, like everyone else, full of faults. He was lonely, unsure and scared.

    It also shows what sets him apart from almost every leader in this country's history: Unparalleled courage. He lived every day with almost certainty that he would be killed for what he said, yet he kept saying it because it had to be said. Yes, there's a good reason for the the national MLK holiday. If more people saw the film, more would not only appreciate the day, but perhaps speak up against the still-staggering problems and injustices this country faces.
    Expand
  4. Jan 19, 2015
    8
    Historical drama depicting 1965 Selma to Montgomery civil rights marches.
    Many historians claim that the movie is not historically accurate,
    Historical drama depicting 1965 Selma to Montgomery civil rights marches.
    Many historians claim that the movie is not historically accurate, especially the role of the President Lyndon Johnson who is shown as an obstructionist to Dr. King's cause. In fact, President Johnson was persistently pushing voting rights legislation through Congress, and some historians even say that Selma was his idea.
    Putting historical inaccuracies aside, the movie is made very well. It is emotionally charged and grim. There were a few episodes that seemed a bit too long.
    Even though I didn't not see any *outstanding* roles that could compete for best actor or actress, performances are excellent across the board, and so is the casting. Directing of Ava DuVernay definitely deserves praise. This is her second movie, and after watching the first one, "In the Middle of Nowhere", I knew we would hear from her again. The choice of musical score is also very good.
    Overall, it is a very accomplished movie but not a masterpiece.
    Expand
  5. Jan 25, 2015
    8
    The movie "Selma" takes its title, from the infamous city in Alabama where, on March 7, 1965, the Reverend Martin Luther King and hisThe movie "Selma" takes its title, from the infamous city in Alabama where, on March 7, 1965, the Reverend Martin Luther King and his followers chose to march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge en route to the state capitol of Montgomery in order to peacefully protest Alabama’s consistent exclusion of its Black citizens from voting in all local, state and federal elections. This is an important event in the history and struggle for equality and justice for all citizens, and especially the Black minority. Unfortunately, it deserved a better vehicle to display it. Superbly acted by David Oyelowe (as Dr. King) the film was directed by Ava Dwerney who co-wrote the film with Paul Webb. The film, although only 2 hours in length, feels more like 3, for it is burdened with long speeches where normally everyday dialogue would have been the case. Actors don’t speak, they pontificate, and scenes that should be shorter are too long. Poor writing, editing and directing appear to be the culprit causing this film with such a worthy purpose and lofty goal to be less effectual in its execution. Also, what would otherwise have been a great history lesson, especially for those too young at the time to realize the importance of the civil rights struggle in the mid-60’s, is the less than accurate portrayal of key characters, notably President Lyndon. Johnson, whose major claim to fame was his ability to put through the Voting Rights Bill (an effort, history shows, was started weeks before the Selma march). True, sometimes poetic license adds drama to a film but a 180 degree turn from the facts can destroy a venture’s credibility. I give the film an 8 rating because of its important role and significance in portraying a most difficult time in our nation’s history and in showing the courage and tenacity of a great leader who brought about much needed change. It’s a story deserved to be told but one wishes it had been done by a different team of writers and director. Expand
  6. Feb 17, 2015
    7
    Selma is a very well made movie. The director gives the audience a tense film that doesn't need to become brutally violent to make its point.Selma is a very well made movie. The director gives the audience a tense film that doesn't need to become brutally violent to make its point. The actors gave great performances in a well balanced film. Expand
  7. Feb 28, 2015
    0
    Too many good movies to see to waste time on fictional accounts of History. Love Martin and attended his speech in Chicago, but history willToo many good movies to see to waste time on fictional accounts of History. Love Martin and attended his speech in Chicago, but history will change in time once people accept that they American 1st and black third or 4th. We need to be uplifted by a movie not enraged. Expand

See all 65 User Reviews

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