A film review by Sally Churchus, Chair of the Association for Church Editors

This is a very topical film – and extremely good! It is a historical drama that was released in 2014 but covers three months in 1965. The film starts after Martin Luther King Jr has been awarded the 1964 Nobel Peace prize and tells the story of his historical struggle to secure voting rights for African-Americans, which was a dangerous and terrifying campaign.

During the film Jimmie Lee Jackson is shot by police in a café after a peaceful march is broken up by state troopers using violence. The film culminates in the finally successful attempt at marching from Selma to Montgomery that eventually swayed American public opinion and persuaded President Johnson to introduce the Voting Rights Act in 1965. King’s strong Christian faith shines through.

David Oyelowo takes the lead and gives a tremendous performance as Martin Luther King. The New York Times review stated, ‘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’.

It is available to watch on BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime or as a DVD. It made me think, sadly, that in those 55 years since the events portrayed happened, we have not moved on as far as one might have hoped.   
‘And now unto him who is able to keep us from falling and lift us from the dark valley of despair to the bright mountain of hope, from the midnight of desperation to the daybreak of joy; to him be power and authority, for ever and ever’. Blessing spoken by Martin Luther King to his congregation in Montgomery as he left them to devote all his time to political action.

Sally Churchus

Source : Association for Church Editors