3 films to watch to honor Martin Luther King Jr.

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Actor David Oyelowo, who portrays Marin Luther King Jr. in the movie “Selma,” speaks at a service in honor of King Monday in Atlanta. The film, which focuses on King’s march for equal voting rights, is still in theatres.   

Arthur Aumann

Martin Luther King Jr. Day honors the man who led the Civil Rights Movement and changed the world with his courage and dream of equality.

Here are films that depict people standing up for what they believed in before and during the Civil Rights Movement.

“Selma”

Academy Award for Best Picture nominee “Selma” is the first theatrically released biopic of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Perhaps one of the greatest strengths of the film is it narrows its scope to focus on one moment in the life of King: the march from Selma to Montgomery in protest for equal voting rights.

The acting is top notch: David Oyelowo has a powerful performance as King and Tim Roth is menacing as bigoted Alabama Gov. George Wallace. There is controversy over Tom Wilkinson’s role as President Lyndon B. Johnson, who in the film seems to be in strong opposition to King at times when in fact he was a supporter of the movement.

Director Ava DuVernay does an excellent job of balancing King’s life with the story of the movement and the people involved in it.

“42”

Although “42” takes place about a decade before the true start of the Civil Rights Movement, Brian Helgeland’s 2013 film stars Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson, who in 1947 became the first black baseball player to play in the major leagues.

The story of Robinson is one of bravery and a quintessential part of American history. The film does a good job at portraying the type of world Robinson was trying to and ultimately did gain acceptance into.

The weakness of the film is it feels too much like a standard sports biopic. It’s not necessarily lacking in any categories, but the movie doesn’t excel anywhere. Still, the story of Robinson is an important one that needs to be told.

“Malcolm X”

Spike Lee’s 1992 film stars Denzel Washington as Malcolm X, a controversial black nationalist leader.

This is the most well-made film of the three and has the best acting. Washington gives the best performance of his career while Angela Bassett as Malcolm’s wife, Betty Shabazz, and Al Freeman Jr. as Muslim extremist Elijah Muhammad are unforgettable, as well.

The three-hour movie allows viewers to have a greater understanding of Malcolm, even if they don’t agree with some of his actions. “Malcolm X” is truly a great and must-see film.