Ava DuVernay brings us the Academy Award-nominated film Selma, a riveting and emotional recount of the march, lead by Dr. Martin Luther King, on Selma, Alabama in 1965.

The film stars Golden Globe nominee David Oyelowo (Lee Daniels’ The Butler) with Oscar nominees Oprah Winfrey (The Color Purple), Tom Wilkinson (Batman Begins), and Oscar award winners Common (American Gangster), Cuba Gooding Jr (Jerry Maguire), as well as break out stars Tessa Thompson (Dear White People) and Trai Byers (Empire).

Selma is set in the midst of the civil rights movement and follows Martin Luther King Jr. (Oyelowo) as he touches down in Selma, Ala., to fight for the voting rights of the black community living there. The emotional ride is expected and yet is still very shocking.

DuVernay holds nothing back in telling this story, focusing not only on King’s clashes with the infamous George Wallace and Jim Clark, but also with a young civil rights organization SNIC, his wife Coretta (Carmen Ejogo), and President Lyndon B. Johnson (Wilkinson).

The story is both frightening and appalling yet still manages to be heart-warming. The film shows a side to the civil rights activist that many don’t get to see in the history books – the account is authentic. Oyelowo is a powerful King, bringing inspiration and gentleness to the role. Wilkinson also adds depth to his part as Johnson, who could easily have been painted the villain.

Overall, Selma is a tearjerker and extremely informative. The fact that DuVernay highlights the actual story of the march on Selma and doesn’t just focus on King being triumphant and righteous makes the film that much more powerful. It includes everyone and allows everyone room to think, recount, and take this powerful story with them.

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