Selma Parent Review
"Selma" explores not only the people behind the incidents and the sacrifices they made, but also the give-and-take required to achieve change in the fight for civil rights.
Every war has its pivotal points. And the
Jimmie (played by Keith Stanfield), his mother (Niecy Nash) and his 82-year-old grandfather (Henry G. Sanders) are among those who attempt a peaceful evening march in Selma, Alabama. When the streetlights suddenly go out, local police began clubbing the protestors. Jimmie and his family try to take refuge in a diner but police follow them inside, shooting Jimmie in the stomach while he tries to protect his mother.
Several days after Jimmie’s death, civil rights leaders organize a march from Selma to Montgomery to protest the local rules that keep African Americans from registering to vote—something Jimmie had tried to do on several occasions. Yet as the participants cross Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge they are met by armed officers and violently attack with batons and tear gas. Images of the altercation are captured by the national media and broadcast live on television, sparking an outcry across the country. (Two weeks after Bloody Sunday, as that day became known, marchers once again set out for Montgomery. After successfully completing the 5-day 54-mile walk, they tried to deliver a petition to Governor George Wallace but were not allowed inside the government building.)
The movie Selma takes a close look at these events and introduces key players in the civil rights movement: Diane Nash (Tessa Thompson), Annie Lee Cooper (Oprah Winfrey), James Bevel (Common), Fred Grey (Cuba Gooding, Jr.), John Lewis (Stephan James) and Malcom X (Nigel Thatch).
The film also depicts behind-the-scene meetings between Martin Luther King (David Oyelowo) and U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) who are both forced to deal with long-held prejudices and the slow-moving political machine. By restricting her film’s scope to this three-month period, Director Ava DuVernay gives audiences a more focused look at the details that eventually let to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Best suited for older teens and adults, this movie portrays the often-bloody and even deadly interactions between protestors and police. Men and women are beaten repeatedly. Shots are fired and tear gas is used. As well, the script contains at least two strong sexual expletives along with other profanities, a crude hand gesture shown in some archival footage and racial slurs.
Tackling these turbulent historical events, Selma explores not only the people behind the incidents and the sacrifices they made, but also the give-and-take required to achieve change in the fight for civil rights.Directed by Ava DuVernay. Starring David Oyelowo, Tom Wilkinson, Oprah Winfrey. Running time: 127 minutes. Theatrical release January 9, 2015. Updated May 18, 2016
Get details on profanity, sex and violence in Selma here.
Selma Parents Guide
Note: Selma is opening in limited theatrical release on 25 December 2014, and opening in wide release on 9 January 2015.
Learn more about this civil rights march and its impact on history.
From the Studio: “SELMA” is the story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s historic struggle to secure voting rights for all people – a dangerous and terrifying campaign that culminated with the epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, and led to President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The film’s release will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the landmark legislation. - Paramount Pictures
Talk about the movie with your family…
Although African Americans had the right to vote, how do local voting authorities keep them from registering? Why were the officials worried about African Americans voting? Why do the governor and president point fingers at each other when it comes to dealing with this problem?
How does media coverage play into the events depicted in this movie? How do the images portrayed on the television impact the silent majority of Americans? How do different causes today use television, print and social media to garner support for their cause?
What sacrifices do Martin Luther King and his family make for the civil rights movement? What concessions does he personally make in favor of the greater cause? How are other political leaders depicted in this movie? What other political issues does Lyndon B. Johnson have to deal with in addition to the civil rights movement?
In addition to voting, what other needs are discussed in this film? How can issues of poverty, illiteracy and unemployment be addressed?