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Biography . Drama . History

"Selma," as in Alabama, the place where segregation in the South was at its worst, leading to a march that ended in violence, forcing a famous statement by President Lyndon B. Johnson that ultimately led to the signing of the Civil Rights Act.

Actors: Tim Roth , Jim France , Oprah Winfrey , Colman Domingo , Giovanni Ribisi , Alessandro Nivola , Omar J. Dorsey , Andre Holland , Carmen Ejogo , Tom Wilkinson , David Oyelowo , Trinity Simone
Directors: Ava DuVernay
Country: UK , USA
Release: 2015-01-09
More Info:
  • Calvin Wilson

    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.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Steve Persall

    This is a modest film with towering potential to make a difference, looking back to move forward.

    Tampa Bay Times Full Review
  • Richard Roeper

    Working from a script by Paul Webb and aided by stark, beautiful, sometimes startlingly realistic cinematography by Bradford Young, DuVernay has delivered a powerful and moving portrait of Martin Luther King Jr.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Andrew O'Hehir

    Selma is gripping, inspiring and sometimes terrifying historical drama, loaded with specific detail, that brings a turning point of the civil rights movement back from black-and-white obscurity to present-tense urgency. Full Review
  • Odie Henderson

    Known for her superb indie dramas “I Will Follow” and “Middle of Nowhere”, DuVernay has proven herself a master of small, intimate moments. Selma never loses focus on the interpersonal dynamics between King and his followers, his detractors and his family. Full Review
  • A.O. Scott

    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.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Ann Hornaday

    There are several reasons to see Selma — for its virtuosity and scale, scope and sheer beauty. But then there are its lessons, which have to do with history, but also today: Selma invites viewers to heed its story, meditate on its implications and allow those images once again to change our hearts and minds.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Joe Neumaier

    The battle it documents is both a cornerstone of the past and a reflection of ongoing struggles. DuVernay infuses Selma with that dichotomy, never forgetting how Selma, the place, was a pledge to march ahead.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Lou Lumenick

    Brilliantly acted and directed, Ava DuVernay’s towering Selma is Hollywood’s definitive depiction of the 1960s American civil rights movement — as well as perhaps the most timely movie you’ll see this year.

    New York Post Full Review
  • David Edelstein

    It’s sensational in the open air and subtle in smaller, enclosed spaces. It has sweep and intimacy. And, yes, we need this movie now.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Stephanie Zacharek

    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.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Joshua Rothkopf

    The film plays like a better episode of "Mad Men," pitch-perfect in its details yet fully lived-in: a universe of rolled-up shirt sleeves, sweat-laden brows and screams that don’t sound canned.

    Time Out New York Full Review
  • Chris Nashawaty

    DuVernay has done a great service with Selma. Not only has she made one of the most powerful films of the year, she's given us a necessary reminder of what King did for this country...and how much is left to be done.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Tim Robey

    David Oyelowo has never given a better performance. He seems to penetrate into King’s soul and camps out there for two hours. He’s tremendous, of course, when electrifying his congregation at the podium, but a sense of fatigue is even more paramount.

    The Telegraph Full Review
  • Charlie Schmidlin

    Selma is vital correspondence, filmmaking lived on the streets where brutal facts were ignored then reported, and now snatched back from history to sustain a spirit few films can or will possess. It is stunning humanistic cinema on a mainstream scale... It has inventiveness, urgency, humor, and most of all emotion that draws effortless parallels rather than leaving its lesson up on the screen.

    The Playlist Full Review
  • Scott Foundas

    DuVernay’s razor-sharp portrait of the Civil Rights movement — and Dr. King himself — at a critical crossroads is as politically astute as it is psychologically acute, giving us a human-scale King whose indomitable public face belies currents of weariness and self-doubt.

    Variety Full Review
  • James Rocchi

    Selma is one of the best American films of the year — and indeed perhaps the best — precisely because it does not simply show what Dr. King did for America in his day; it also wonders explicitly what we have left undone for America in ours.

    TheWrap Full Review
  • Marc Mohan

    A film this heartfelt and intelligent about social justice will never be unimportant, but it feels especially relevant today.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Gregory Ellwood

    In a year of remarkable performances, Oyelowo is simply magnificent as Dr. King.

    HitFix Full Review
  • Barbara VanDenburgh

    It is not hyperbole to say Oyelowo is a revelation. The British actor brings phenomenal humanity, grace and torment to a historical figure who once seemed to loom too large a legend to make flesh on screen.

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • Scott Tobias

    DuVernay stages well-known public events like the “Bloody Sunday” march with scrupulousness, scope, and a gut-wrenching visceral power. But Selma’s true success is as a chamber piece, not a thundering historical epic.

    The Dissolve Full Review
  • David Denby

    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.

    The New Yorker Full Review
  • Stephen Farber

    Intelligently written, vividly shot, tightly edited, sharply acted, the film represents a rare example of craftsmanship working to produce a deeply moving piece of history.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Staff [Not Credited]

    A deeply moving film, it's a powerful reminder of a time not so long ago when, for a large group of Americans, attempting to register to vote could result in a serious threat to their lives.

    USA Today Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    What Selma does so well is to bring to life the events of 1965, especially "Bloody Sunday" (the first march). It's one thing to read about these moments in a history book but another altogether to see them on the screen. The movie is riveting.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    Selma is at its very best when it gets into the nitty-gritty of the SCLC’s arrival in Selma amid colliding factions and forces.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Rene Rodriguez

    Instead of a history lesson, Selma plays like suspenseful, absorbing drama.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    Like "Lincoln," written by Tony Kushner and directed by Steven Spielberg, DuVernay's Selma ushers us into the world of the backstage, back-room and back-scratching political process, dramatizing how the sausage was actually made.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    The sad fact is that racial injustice is timelier than ever. Righteous fury is in the air. And that fervor to stand up and be counted is all over Selma.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Richard Corliss

    A movie like Selma should be a relic in a time capsule from 1965, a clue to how well we heeded King’s words and how far we have advanced. Instead it is a reminder that the “American problem” has yet to be solved.

    Time Full Review
  • Bob Mondello

    The film's timing, in short, could hardly be more resonant. And DuVernay's most remarkable accomplishment may be that with such passion inspiring material, she has made such a measured, resolute and levelheaded film.

    NPR Full Review
  • Dana Stevens

    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.

    Slate Full Review
  • Liam Lacey

    Taken strictly as a movie, though, Selma is an uneven yet generally skillful effort that has probably drawn more praise and criticism than it warrants.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    This is a remarkable performance, remarkable not only in its force, but in its strength and precision. Oyelowo is reason alone to see Selma, and if you need another reason, there’s Carmen Ejogo, as a lovely, strong and haunted Coretta Scott King.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Roger Moore

    Anyone who has heard tapes of the real King confronting LBJ will realize that the power dynamic depicted here just doesn’t ring true. King’s moral authority asserted itself, but nobody stood up to Johnson to his face. Nobody.

    Tribune News Service Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    The best thing about the movie is David Oyelowo’s performance as King. He doesn’t simply portray King; he inhabits him.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • A.A. Dowd

    As cinema, Selma is commendable; as cultural barometer, it’s beyond reproach.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Steve Macfarlane

    What will make the film essential for future generations isn't mere flashpoint topicality, but the way it aligns an old struggle with a current one.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Rex Reed

    As vital as it is, racial strife is a subject that cries out for a more volatile treatment than this. The Alabama marching sequences and resulting violence, filmed in Selma, where they actually happened, are too understated for my taste. And the home life of King and his vacillating wife Coretta are muted.

    New York Observer Full Review
  • Joe Morgenstern

    At its best, Ava DuVernay’s biographical film honors Dr. King’s legacy by dramatizing the racist brutality that spurred him and his colleagues to action. The director and her screenwriter, Paul Webb, are less successful — sometimes much less so — at breathing life into the private moments that define King as an inspirational figure with human flaws, and a political as well as spiritual force.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Kenneth Turan

    If there is a temptation to canonize Selma and brush aside its less successful elements, that's not surprising given how good much of it is and the heroic nature of the story, not to mention the decades it's taken for this history to reach the screen.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Marjorie Baumgarten

    Although Selma is dramatically uneven overall, the film is a commendable historical drama that sidesteps the pitfalls of adulatory biopics and great-man approaches to encapsulating bygone events.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Steve Rose

    Unimpeachably important, ambitious in its scope and handsomely presented, it has all the hallmarks of a trophy winner, for better and worse.

    The Guardian Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    Selma may be flawed, even spurious at points. But in its larger portrait of a man of dignity, purpose, and courage, and in Oyelowo's performance as that man, the film rings true.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • James Mottram

    Powerful drama, driven by a powerhouse performance, Selma is this year’s Lincoln. For Oyelowo and DuVernay, it’s a career changer.

    Total Film Full Review
  • Chris Hewitt (1)

    It’s not a perfect film by any means, but it’s incredibly powerful and often moving, anchored by an awards-worthy performance from Oyelowo.

    Empire Full Review
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