creature feature saturday: the amazing mr. x (bernard vorhaus, 1948)
it's halloween, so go watch the babadook

by request: marshall (reginald hudlin, 2017)

A couple of weeks ago, writing about Wonder Woman, I questioned the need for the Chris Pine character. It felt timid, as if the audiences wouldn't go to see the movie unless there was a guy in a main role.

I had the same feeling while watching Marshall. There are some who argue that the film is unfair towards Sam Friedman, the Jewish lawyer who works alongside Thurgood Marshall. Whether this is true, my own question was, why choose a case like this, that allows for a lot of screen time for the white guy, in a movie supposed about Thurgood Marshall? Nothing against the real-life Friedman, but at times the movie plays as if it should have been called "Friedman". As Alissa Wilkinson wrote, in a piece titled "Marshall is named for Thurgood Marshall. Why isn’t he the movie’s protagonist?":

The main problem with Marshall, unfortunately, is that the movie’s protagonist isn’t Thurgood Marshall at all. The young lawyer enters the story fully self-possessed and confident in both the rightness of his cause and the justness of insisting on his place in a society that would get rid of him, and everyone like him, if it could. ... The true protagonist of Marshall is Sam Friedman (Josh Gad), a Jewish insurance lawyer in Connecticut who gets roped into helping on an explosive criminal case that touches off racial prejudices and discovers within himself a desire to fight for civil rights, too.

Marshall is an entertaining movie, especially if you like courtroom dramas, and if you accept it for what it is, rather than what you might hope it will be, you should be fine. Chadwick Boseman and Josh Gad are fine in the leads, Sterling K. Brown and Kate Hudson do well in secondary roles, and Marshall's old buddies Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston show up. While I was watching it, I liked it more than the above might suggest, and even after the post-mortem, I don't hate it. 7/10.

 

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