Saturday, July 12, 2008

Movie: The Great Debaters

It's late here (just after 1 am), but I just finished an AWESOME movie that I had to post while it was still fresh in my mind...

The Great Debaters (imdb)>
I really don't know where to start in praising this movie. The actors (and actresses) were all TOP notch. Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker in the same movie?! That's pure genius. One of the main characters was played by "Denzel Whitaker" I had to check imdb to see if he was in fact Forest's son, but no, there is no relation... but in an odd twist of fate, he was named after Denzel Washington. He too was awesome in his role of the child prodigy. He had just the right balance of determination, and yet child like naiveté. The actress Jurnee Smollett played the role of "Smantha Brooke (with an e)" and she too was incredible. Why have I not seen more of her in movie roles (imdb shows her career as having done a lot of television - someone in hollywood needs to give her more substantial roles like this!)
Perhaps more important than all these fine actors, was the story.
Set in the 1930's and it shows us a glimpse into another world. Something that strangely was not that long ago and at the same time feels like it was hundreds of years ago. The movie deals mostly with issues of race and human rights, which to me are still subjects we need to be mindful of in 2008. To often we forget our past.
I couldn't help but think of how far we have come in issues of race to be entering into a political race where one of the candidates is a person of color. Yet, we all know someong I bet, who is struggling with issues of race. My hope is that in a few more generations, this thing called "equality" will be much more prevalent.
Please... go rent this movie.
(note: in the dvd specials, there is some footage of actual interviews with some of the characters in the film, and people who knew the people first hand. This was also just as priceless as the movie itself. be sure to account for another 20-30 minutes after the movie to watch this special feature.)

PS: I feel bad for not mentioning the actor Nate Parker, who played one of the leads "Henry Lowe". He too did an awesome job, but I think because his character was a tad less likeable than the others, I think I left him out of the above praises. Good job Nate!

one more thing...
What you say? Not one complaint?
ok, there was one scene that did bother me...
At one point James Jr. Gets in trouble with his father. The father grounds him, and tells him he's not allowed out of the house until he tells him where he's been. James Jr. Responds "but what about school?" - to which his father starts to get even more mad at him for talking back. James Jr. Runs to his bedroom and slams the door.
The VERY next scene... James is at school! No explanation. This was just a big slip of continuity in my opinion.

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