“MARSHALL” – 8 ½
In a word: Engaging
This movie is not so much about the life of the first black U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall. Rather, it’s about a young civil rights attorney and the struggles he had to overcome in defending a young black defendant charged with rape in 1941 in Greenwich, Connecticut. At this time, Marshall was the sole staff attorney for the NAACP.
The story focuses on the plight of a black chauffeur accused of raping a wealthy white woman, married, who was his employer. Several issues of racism are highlighted, particularly in the courtroom as the judge would not allow Marshall to utter a word during the trial, but had to pass that task on to a white attorney who had never tried a criminal case. The partnership between Marshall and Sam Friedman starts off on rocky grounds but eventually evolves into harmony and mutual respect.
Actually, the trial is quite interesting with evidence and revelations that would intrigue folks who like to solve crimes.
The movie is well-directed and maintains a pace which keeps the viewer engaged. Acting is good, with the Marshall role played by Chadwick Boseman, the same actor who portrayed Jackie Robinson in the 2015 movie “42.” He is a good actor, indeed, but the wrong actor to play such a prominent biographic role who bears no resemblance to Thurgood Marshall, other than skin color. Marshall stood quite tall with a commanding presence, and features that the actor simply did not possess.
That aside, the storyline is the most important element of this film. The alleged rape victim, is deftly played by Kate Hudson, and the part of Sam Friedman played by Josh Gad.
Thurgood Marshall’s contribution to America and his significant role in taking on the helm of the civil rights movement, long before Martine Luther King, Jr., should be a complete movie onto itself one day, and not represented by a single criminal case. For more about Marshall’s life, see the Wikipedia link, below.
I give this an 8 ½