By Cynthia Ayala
“About a young Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court Justice, as he battles through one of his career-defining cases.” —IMDB
I love Chadwick Boseman. This man is so lucky he got to be Jackie Robinson he got to be James Brown and now gets to be Thurgood Marshall, and he gets to be the first black superhero to get his own movie. This man is now an icon for himself and the African American community.
I just wanted to say that before I started my review of Marshall, a film both amazing in story and acting.
The message behind this film is so incredibly powerful especially in today’s day in age where you see racism just rising again. I would like to comment that saying that aloud makes me want to cry because it’s pitiful to see this country that has come so far is now falling so behind again. I’m not African-American I don’t have dark skin at all, so I’m not going to feel that sort of racism that some of my closest friends are most likely to feel. I am a Mexican woman though which has its challenges as this country also deals with its attack on immigration and Hispanics and Latino’s alike. I’m personally not an immigrant, I’m a third generation American-Mexican, but to many, especially given this presidents attitude at times, that doesn’t. I’m saying this because this film doesn’t just tackle racism, it also addresses the attack of another’s culture or religious background, both of which are attacked continuously every day.
Through the film, it brings to life one of Marshalls essential cases in the world. He’s defending an African-American man who is being accused of rape by his white socialite employer. Josh Gad plays Sam Friedman, a Jewish attorney who has to face his own challenges by being a Jewish man during a time when Jews were being hounded and put into camps. The slurs in the movie aren’t just racial; they are bigoted as well. This is why the film is so exceptional because with the tiniest of moments it highlights many injustices that, injustices that may seem like nothing to others, but are injustices nonetheless.
Chadwick Boseman plays Thurgood Marshall, a traveling lawyer who handles cases dealing with race. There are scenes where Marshall’s own civil liberties are attacked, but for the most part, he manages them with his head held high. Marshall knows the battles he can win, how to pick his fights to allow justice to persevere, and Boseman’s ability to capture that is brilliant. Boseman is such an incredible actor in his own right, and he takes on these impactful roles, achieving the necessary emotion to make the film fly high. His chemistry with Josh Gad is another thing to marvel about in this movie. Boseman and Gad are a fantastic team in this film because they capture the tension of the time and they challenge it, first against one another then as a team against society. So many of the interactions are defined by the subtleties of language, giving them power and drawing the audience in.
It’s so sad that civil rights or rights, in general, is something that’s just sort of taken advantage of. It is shown to be taken advantage of here, both by the prosecution and the defense. But as they analyze the struggle and how far they come, they all begin to understand just how essential civil liberties are. It’s a critical message that the film portrays the way the movie is structured how it evolves a case and questions the situation and moves forward with the evidence. It has power to it, Chadwick Boseman presents energy to the role he has taken, living up the legacy that Thurgood Marshall.
Memorable to the last moment, Marshall is a piece of history everyone should watch. It also helps to appreciate the historical accuracy of the film. (★★★★ | A)
Directed by Reginald Hudlin
Distributed by Open Road Films