How about those Oscar nominations, eh? There seems to be a whole lot of blandly inspiration “true story” movies this year. Of course, we could hang around counting snubs until, as the kids say, the cows come home, or we could focus on just one, because despite this misleading intro, this article concerns something totally different, as implied by its title. I’m just gonna hop right to it, then.
Cloud Eight Films
The Plot: Following his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech and his Nobel Peace Prize win, Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) directs his attention towards the next big step in the American Civil Rights Movement: securing the right to vote safely. Technically, African Americans possessed that right for years, but most of the South managed to find ways to keep them from the ballot boxes and registration forms. King heads to Selma, Alabama, to organize the townspeople and any other sympathizers in a nonviolent march on Montgomery, the state capital. Of course, things aren’t that easy, and they must face opposition both direct and indirect from Gov. George Wallace (Tim Roth) and the FBI.
The Theory of Everything sought to inspire its audiences with a story about a man who achieves greatness in the face of adversity. Its primary tactic involved ending every scene with one character looking directly at the camera and asking, “Isn’t this inspirational?” Rather than offering anything to encourage that feeling naturally, it just tells you to feel a certain way. In case you skipped that review, I didn’t much care for The Theory of Everything. Selma has the same basic premise and objective: man achieves greatness against overwhelming odds, based on a true story. Both men even have unflappable wives to whom they’re unfaithful. Obviously, beyond that, the two films don’t have much in common. One man seeks to explain things through science despite his crippling disease; the other seeks to grant basic human rights to a mass populace despite outright physical violence and institutionalized murder. Who’s to say who achieved more? In light of those differences, I think the comparison justifies itself, as both films have the same basic goal: to inspire audiences through the lens of real human achievement.
Cloud Eight Films
Again, with a few minor set-backs.