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89

Universal acclaim - based on 43 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 125 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: 42 out of 43
  2. Negative: 0 out of 43
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Dec 15, 2014
    90
    This is cinema, more rhetorical, spectacular, and stirring than cable-TV drama: again and again, DuVernay’s camera (Bradford Young did the cinematography) tracks behind characters as they march, or gentles toward them as they approach, receiving them with a friendly hand.
  5. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Jan 8, 2015
    88
    Instead of a history lesson, Selma plays like suspenseful, absorbing drama.
  6. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Dec 22, 2014
    80
    By focusing on the power of cannily staged collective action to turn the tide of public opinion, Selma achieves a contemporary relevance that few historical dramas can — especially those built around real-life figures as encrusted in layers of hagiography as MLK.
  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 43 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 41
  2. Negative: 6 out of 41
  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. Jan 18, 2015
    10
    Fueled by an overwhelmingly raw performance from David Oyelowo and plenty of others in the periphery, Selma is an intelligent and meaningfulFueled by an overwhelmingly raw performance from David Oyelowo and plenty of others in the periphery, Selma is an intelligent and meaningful examination of one of the most significant moments in the history of the United States. What is more stunning than the vivid and often gut-wrenching imagery is the investigation of arguably the greatest mind associated with the civil rights movement - Martin Luther King Jr. - and a detailed insight into the true motivation and rationale of this man; this all being made possible by a brilliant performance from Oyelowo. Wilkinson, Roth, Gooding, Winfrey and Common also gave terrific performances to bolster the inspiring and composed tone of the film. It also leaves the issue open to thought, and couldn't be better timed with the racial strife we have been experiencing together as a country, recently. An important - nigh, essential - piece of film making. Highly recommended. Expand
  4. Jan 7, 2015
    8
    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
  5. Jan 19, 2015
    8
    "Selma" 10 Scale Rating: 7.5 (Very Good) ...

    The Good: David Oyelowo is outstanding as Martin Luther King, Jr and it's a shame that he
    "Selma" 10 Scale Rating: 7.5 (Very Good) ...

    The Good: David Oyelowo is outstanding as Martin Luther King, Jr and it's a shame that he didn't get a Best Actor nod from the Academy. His mannerisms and delivery were spot on and you can tell that he did a lot of research. His speeches were passionate and amazing to watch as well, which made me feel as if the role was exceptionally important to him. Beyond Oyelowo, there are several minor parts played by big actors with Martin Sheen, Oprah Winfrey, and Cuba Gooding, Jr all with cameos. The film itself is well directed and at times powerful. It focused not only on King's strengths, but also on his weaknesses and faults which was refreshing. A lot of biopics come across as hero worship, but that wasn't the case here.

    The Bad: The film does slow down considerably at times, and makes the 2:07 run time feel longer. On top of that, the overwhelming majority of the supporting cast fade into the background. They are introduced by name, but then don't have much screen time and most of their names are never used again so you forget who they are. That is what truly prevents the film from being great. The supporting cast are under-utilized and therefore become unmemorable.
    Expand
  6. 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
  7. Jan 21, 2015
    0
    when you go to a theater you expect something new and inspiring. That s not the case. This film is full of cliches that try - and fails- towhen you go to a theater you expect something new and inspiring. That s not the case. This film is full of cliches that try - and fails- to manipulate your feelings. I know the long and suffering road for a equal society but this film makes no contribution of telling the crucial moments of battles against racism. The only question remaining is Why Oprah is in this film? Expand

See all 41 User Reviews

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