Movie Review by Myla Tosatto
“In America, our differences aren’t supposed to matter,” says Thurgood Marshall (Chadwick Boseman) in the movie Marshall. I know it sounds trite, but the more things change, the more things stay the same. Justice Marshall would not see a world that has changed all that much since becoming a Supreme Court Justice in 1967 or when the trial of Connecticut v. Joseph Spell (which the movie is based upon) took place in 1941.
Once again, Chadwick Boseman proves that he can portray just about any historical person. In fact, this is his fourth biopic. His charismatic personality and leading man good looks make him a natural for period dramas (as well as his upcoming turn in Marvel’s Black Panther!*). Josh Gad** plays attorney Sam Friedman who is Marshall’s voice in the courtroom since Marshall isn’t a member of the Maryland Bar. In the movie, both Marshall and Friedman are wrestling real life consequences while defending Spell (Sterling K. Brown) against accusations from socialite Eleanor Strubing (Kate Hudson***). Marshall is fighting for the legitimacy of the NAACP and Friedman is fighting for his reputation and his family’s safety. They were both fighting for what was right and had a lot to lose.
The director, Reginald Hudlin, has most notably directed TV sitcoms and it shows by the breezy way the subject matter come through on occasion. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It takes very serious subjects (racism, privilege, rape, false charges) and makes it palatable and easier to understand. It also makes it simpler for us to learn a lesson from our past. It also adds up to one heck of an enjoyable movie.
The movie is rated PG-13 and is a courtroom drama dealing with rape. As always, use your best parental judgment when deciding if you can bring children. I would be comfortable taking a middle aged child to see it. Racist words and phrases that have been taken out of our vocabularies can be jarring. There is some swearing. But, it is important for kids to know their history.
* I am so excited for Black Panther that I can hardly stand it. February 9th can’t get here soon enough!
** Josh Gad in his period swimsuit swimming at the glorious YMCA is everything I ever wanted to see in a movie.
*** It is FANTASTIC to see Kate Hudson back on the big screen as opposed to selling leggings via the internet. Not that her leggings aren’t great . . ..