a review: The Great Debaters

“It is my civic and moral duty to oppose unjust law, either with violence or non-violence. Pray I choose the latter.”

Nicolette and I caught an early matinee for The Great Debaters this past Saturday. While I do not normally recommend sappy/inspirational movies, I thoroughly enjoyed this flick. Sure, the story is one I feel like I have seen before, but a familiar story re-told with conviction and with the gravitas of this cast was well worth seeing.

While it is supposedly based on a true story, I think it falls somewhere more along the lines of “a-collection-of-true-stories-put-together-to-be-more-dramatic.” From what I have read since Saturday, there are a number of historical inaccuracies in the film (check here to see these more thoroughly explained). I certainly think that editing and dramatization have their place in story-telling, but it seems like this story could be told with out the dramatization and be just as (if not more??) compelling. Does “spicing up” the story sour its moral lesson? Or is it a useful tool for engaging an otherwise apathetic audience?

Beyond that question that lingers in my mind, my reaction was and is thorough admiration for the cast of this film. I really enjoy Denzel Washington’s work on both sides of the camera.

posted by: caleb

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