Yesterday I got the opportunity to see Selma with a few of my 9th graders as a little fun trip for their College Mentorship Program. I had heard great things about the movie, but I was unsure only because sometimes movies that get a lot of hype aren’t that great. Not all the time, but sometimes, so I didn’t want to get my hopes up.
In case you are unfamiliar with what the movie’s about, it tells the story of Martin Luther King Jr. and his friends trying to help the African Americans in Selma, Alabama register to vote. Legally, they had the right to vote, but many places in the south, like Selma, made it virtually impossible for them to register to vote at all. (Side note: a little sad that it’s now 2015 and voting rights are still an issue).
The movie is powerful and has some very emotional parts and parts that may leave you shocked. What I think makes it more emotionally raw is that it is all a true story and it isn’t a fictional story that you’re watching unfold before you. Some parts of the movie are a little slow moving, but that’s really my only critique. I love that at the end they give little blurbs about what happened with some of the people in the future, like one guy has been in Congress for almost 30 years, another was appointed a UN Ambassador, etc. I love when movies provide that because I’m one of those people that always imagine what happens after the credits. Some of the little stories of what happened to the people will make you cheer and some will make you sad.
Overall, I think it’s definitely a movie worth seeing. It does make you think about all of us who take our ability to vote for granted when just decades ago people were willing to die for their right to vote. I’m happy my students loved it too.