Young Thurgood Marshall faces one of his greatest challenges while working as a lawyer for the NAACP. Marshall travels to conservative Connecticut when wealthy socialite Eleanor Strubing accuses black chauffeur Joseph Spell of sexual assault and attempted murder. He soon teams up with Sam Friedman, a local Jewish lawyer who's never handled a criminal case. Together, the two men build a defense while contending with racist and anti-Semitic views from those who deem Spell to be guilty.
Critique de Nikayaya
“We know the laws were not written for us, but we will make them work for us.”
Such is the great mindset of a great man built from the most difficult of starting points. In the movie Marshall we are privy to a snapshot of the great Superior Court Judge Thurgood Marshall in a time when he was still a lawyer working for the NAACP. Chadwick Boseman gives life to the late Marshall by demonstrating how a man, rightly confident in his earned position of life, fights back against those that doubt he deserves it.
The movie centers on the relationship between Sam Friedman and Thurgood Marshall as Marshall guides him through the criminal case Sam originally has no desire to participate in. We watch Sam (Josh Gad) struggle through the common position of not wanting to take a stance, on anything, for fear of how it may disrupt his life. But as the movie progresses and we are laid out the different levels of racism and prejudice that needled at this country, we see Sam’s thought process evolve.
The film does a great job of not just demonstrating Thurgood’s reasons for his work and passion, but the factors behind it. Not just the blatant racism that was par for the time, but the micro aggressions that still prevail today. Even Sam’s wife Stella’s (Marina Squerciati) initial reaction to the case is an example of the fear of guilt by association, until you are the one being accused. As she listens to a woman in church justify the recent firing of a long time employee simply for the color of her skin, Stella is moved to support Sam.
At the San Diego Film Festival preview I had the unique honor of witnessing a local high school class attend the viewing. They were excited to see a movie on Thurgood Marshall and were historically aware more so than some of the audience. This is why these movies matter. We can not, and should not, just review films on their structure, but also on the impact they can have. Movies are art, and art can be resistance and calls for change. The story of Thurgood Marshall, of men who seek to change the world even when they themselves are amongst it’s most oppressed, are the stories we need.
Directed by Reginald Hudlin
Produced by Paula Wagner, Reginald Hudlin, Jonathan Sanger
Written by Michael Koskoff, Jacob Koskoff
Starring Chadwick Boseman, Josh Gad, Kate Hudson, Dan Stevens, Sterling K. Brown, James Cromwell
Music by Marcus Miller
Cinematography Newton Thomas Sigel
Edited by Tom McArdle
Production company : Starlight Media, Chestnut Ridge Productions, Hudlin Entertainmnet
Distributed by Open Road Films
Release date : October 13, 2017 (United States)
Running time 118 minutes
Country : United States
Previewed San Diego Film Festival Oct. 4th, 2017
- Note de Nikayaya: 4