[Los Angeles, CA] The movie “Marshall” is set for release this weekend. I was fortunate to be in attendance with some of my BPG (Black Professional Group) colleagues as they hosted an advance screening Wednesday, October 11th.
The life of Thurgood Marshall has been chronicled in the annals of contemporary history. However as iconic as his legal career was and his subsequent place as a justice on the Supreme Court, there is much about him the public does not know. The two most recent books of his life do a good job in presenting his career; Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary written by Juan Williams (2000) and Showdown, written by Wil Haygood (2015).
“Marshall” the movie does a good job of showcasing his brilliance of our legal system. It is not a documentary but more of a bio-pic. Therefore, it does take creative license in presenting a very entertaining movie. Certain scenes take me back to “Native Son” as race and sex are center stage. You have a black chauffeur accused of raping a white woman, whom he worked for. We have seen this plot before. As a young attorney Marshall was part of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund so he was summoned to represent the chauffeur who claimed to be falsely accused.
nouninformalnoun: biopic; plural noun: biopics; noun: bio-pic; plural noun: bio-pics
- a biographical movie.
Through twist and turns of dealing with sheer racism and a system which automatically assumed those accused, especially if they were black (African-American) were guilty, Marshall used his gift to motivate and convince the lead attorney they could turn the system to their favor while seeking to exonerate their client.
If you know about Justice Thurgood Marshall, you will score the film high. However, if you are not aware of his career or the plight of blacks during that period, you will miss the sensitivities and may provide a lower grade. My grade comes in at a solid 7, and after some reflection I could see moving it up to an 8 because it covered so much ground.
The cast is very contemporary but at the end you are treated to three people who make a cameo appearance which make you appreciate the struggle of working through the legal system in trying to achieve justice.
On Tuesday, October 10th the National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, DC also had a special screening. Those in attendance were treated to a post question and answer conducted by Wil Haygood (The Butler) as he interviewed the director, Reginald Hudlin. There are many poignant comments during the 32-minute session, including how not one U.S. company was willing to fund the project. The usual excuse of the film not having a broad audience was the reason Hudlin shared. How many times have we heard that only to see such movies take on worldwide interest? Hudlin’s work was eventually realized as Chinese investors stepped forward.
Here is the official trailer