I liked SELMA. And I thought it suffered a bit from the usual standard biopic pitfalls of not digging more deeply into the complex areas inherent in its story and characters, as well as not trusting actual events to be powerful enough of a story to not have to alter history to create extra drama or to paint a more “desirable” picture. That said, I still found the film effecting and it stayed with me longer than either THE IMITATION GAME or THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING, the other 2 biopics from last year made in a similar mold.
For me, these kinds of linear tellings of stories with historical beats that need to be hit always feel too manufactured. Which isn’t to say they don’t have impact or are not good films. Many are, and this one is. But there’s a deeper level of human experience, the human condition, that these types of films never quite manage to reveal for me. More often than not, this begins at the script stage. These films often feel like the events themselves were strung out in a line with index cards and the characters’ personal struggles inserted to up the drama instead of revealing and exploring the many layers and complexities of the human beings and their struggles being portrayed. For me, the film MR. TURNER was the only biopic I saw from last year that transcended this issue. Perhaps because the filmmaker/writer, Mike Leigh, knows that it’s the characters’ inner journeys that dictate the “events” that unfold and not the other way around.
Continue reading “Does “SELMA” Shine A Light On More Than Just Its Story?”
The extraordinary jazz singer and actress, Lena Horne, has died at the age of 92. Thankfully, her music, films and legacy remain. Just wanted to say goodbye and thanks, Lena. You will be missed.
At a town hall held today at his presidential center, Jimmy Carter stated about Joe Wilson’s outburst during President Obama’s speech to Congress last week that:
“I think it’s based on racism. There is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not be president… I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man.”
Mr. Carter believes Wilson’s outburst is part of a trend directed at President Obama:
“Those kind of things are not just casual outcomes of a sincere debate on whether we should have a national program on health care. It’s deeper than that.”
To counter Mr. Carter’s belief, Dick Harpootlian, a former chairman of the Democratic Party in South Carolina and someone who has known Wilson for a long time, stated:
“I think Joe’s conduct was asinine, but I think it would be asinine no matter what the color of the president. I don’t think Joe’s outburst was caused by President Obama being African-American. I think it was caused by no filter being between his brain and his mouth.
“You have a bunch of folks out there looking for some comfort in their racial issues. They have a problem with an African-American president. But was he motivated by that? I don’t think so. I respectfully disagree with President Carter, though it gives validity to racism.”
Here is Mr. Carter speaking on MSNBC:
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