Kernel Rating (out of 5):
MPAA Rating: PG-13 Length: 129 minutes
Age Appropriate For: 13+. The film is about Martin Luther King Jr. and the march he led from Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery, Alabama, so there is a fair amount of racism depicted, including vicious beatings and killings by police and vigilantes, including whippings and riding over people; the mention of violence and murder by the Ku Klux Klan; and the use of the n-word. Also some cursing, a conversation about marital infidelity, and the brief playing of an audio recording of people loudly moaning, theoretically during sex.
‘Selma,’ the first major Hollywood film about Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, comes at a particularly timely moment. Stacked with solid performances revolving around a nuanced script, the film is a gut punch.
By Roxana Hadadi
If you pay attention to entertainment news, you know ‘Selma’ is not without its detractors. After its limited release on Christmas Day, the film drew criticism from President Lyndon B. Johnson historians who say the film undersells his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, and from the get, director Ava DuVernay and screenwriter Paul Webb have had to work around the King family (who have copyrighted his speeches and charge for their use) and filmmaker Steven Spielberg, who owns the movie rights to using those speeches. But those obstacles don’t really matter, because “Selma” is an always-gripping, often-bruising film, with fantastic performances and a solidly written script that contextualizes King’s work in an effectively impactful way.