MARSHALL – A Review by John Strange
Marshall is a segment of Thurgood Marshall's early days working with the NAACP as their sole trial lawyer. We watch as Thurgood (Chadwick Boseman) is forced to defend a black man accused of rape by working through local lawyer Sam Friedman (Josh Gad). Sam is not a criminal trial lawyer and really doesn't want to be. He reluctantly agrees to be the local lawyer that requests a waiver to allow Thurgood to appear before the court and represent the defendant.
Surprising everyone at the defense table, the presiding judge, Judge Foster (James Cromwell), rules that while Mr. Marshall can sit at the table he is not to speak or question anyone on the witness stand. Sam tries to argue that he isn't the right man to defend Joseph Spell (Sterling K. Brown) but Judge Foster tells him that he is the man who will be defending Spellman regardless of his personal desires.
This story is historically accurate, based on the true story of Thurgood Marshall's life. The story of why Joseph Spell was accused of the crime and how his guilt or innocence is proven. In fact, the investigation of the facts make up a large portion of the film's timeline.
We are shown so much more than just the cold facts as they would have been presented had this been shot as a documentary. We can see the man that was Thurgood Marshall and just as interesting, we can see why and how Sam Friedman became the man he developed into as part of the NAACP.
This is a film that is as entertaining as it is enlightening. We have been bombarded of late with so much hate. Sometimes we need to be reminded of the strides some of the legends of U.S. history, regardless of race, creed, or color made to give us the land of the free we have today. Thurgood Marshal was someone we can all look up to. He lived his life true to his ideals. I admire him for that.
The cast put together for this film is outstanding. They bring a good script to life and really make you feel the story. The performances of Chadwick Boseman and Sterling K. Brown were Oscar-caliber. Like Robin Williams, Josh Gad takes to comedy like a duck to water but throw him into a really good drama and he truly shines. I think it will be interesting to watch him for the next decade or so as he truly hits his stride.
This story is not one I would bring younger kids to. The rape charge and the testimony in court is not what they should be exposed to. Other than that, you will enjoy Marshall while learning a bit more about our history.
Directed by: Reginald Hudlin
Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Josh Gad, Kate Hudson, Sterling K. Brown, Dan Stevens, James Cromwell
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for mature thematic content, sexuality, violence and some strong language)
Selig Rating: A
Runtime: 118 Min.
Movie Site: www.MarshallMovie.com
The Selig Rating Scale:
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.