Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday At The Movies

Denzel Washington ... Melvin B. Tolson
Nate Parker ... Henry Lowe
Jurnee Smollett ... Samantha Booke
Denzel Whitaker ... James Farmer Jr.
Forest Whitaker ... Dr. James Farmer Sr.

I almost gave up on this movie. About one-third of the way through and I was bored senseless. There seemed to be no forward movement and the acting felt stagnant. I knew that Denzel Washington couldn’t let me down in this way and Jurnee Smollett is just too captivating of an actress to not keep my attention, so I decided to give it a little bit more time.

Once we hit the halfway point I was hooked, I do not know for sure what happened, but the storyline started to evolve and I was becoming more attached to the characters and the story they were telling.

Based on the true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, who inspired his students to form the school’s first debate team. Not just any debate team, but a team from a small rural all-African-American college during the height of the depression. A team that would one day take on the likes of Harvard in the national championship and would go on to record one of the greatest debate records of their time.

I do not know if this movie will appeal to all, but if you stick with it and watch the extra footage at the end of the DVD, you will get a completely new appreciation of the people and the times. This was an extraordinary group of young people and to see what they have achieved since is in itself remarkable.

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