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Movie Review: “Marshall”

With the recent release of several big budget films such as “Blade Runner 2049,” “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” and “It,” perhaps one of the most underrated movies currently in theaters is “Marshall,” a biographical drama film based on the life of Thurgood Marshall, a civil rights activist and the first African-American Supreme Court Justice. Released on Oct. 13, Marshall can be seen in most major theaters throughout Los Angeles.

The film documents a court case during the early years of Marshall’s career. Marshall, portrayed by Chadwick Boseman, is sent by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to Connecticut to defend Joseph Spell, an African-American man accused of raping a white woman, Eleanor Strubing.

The film is set in 1941, just prior to the United States’ entrance into World War II. The War is used to measure the incredible hypocrisy showed by the United States.

At the same time the United States was criticizing Nazi Germany for its racial policies, Americans were treating blacks like second-class citizens in the North and allowing them to be beaten and lynched by white supremacist groups in the South.

Marshall faces injustices every day from nearly everyone he interacts with. He is disrespected as not only an attorney but also a human being. He is not given the tools to succeed that his white peers are given. Yet throughout all these events, he continues to fight to safeguard the rights of innocent blacks like Spell.

Sam Friedman, played by Josh Gad, deals with an equally significant fight regarding ethnicity and race. He is the son of Eastern European Jews and was born in Minsk before coming to the United States at a very early age. While at first being burdened with a case he wanted to avoid, he has a change of heart after he is beaten for being Jewish and realizes his similarity to Spell and Marshall.

The film itself is incredibly enjoyable and entertaining. Punctuated by jazz music, the scenes alternate between the riveting court case and the lighthearted and laugh-filled interactions between Marshall and Friedman. The chemistry between Boseman and Gad is tangible, and together their characters are able to take on any challenges that their hypocritical and oppressive world throws at them.  Their own talent is aided by stellar supporting performances from Kate Hudson, Sterling K. Brown and Dan Stevens.


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