The Great Debaters is a powerful movie! This movie boasts two of Hollywood's Greatest Heavyweights by the names of Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker.
The content in this movie is eye-opening and insightful, as it paints the struggle and conflict of a young African-American debate team from Texas. This movie also happens to have been directed by none other than Denzel Washington, himself.
The time period of the movie is set back around 1930-1935 when there were still a lot of racism prevalent in the south. The characters in the movie share similar struggles as far as up bringing, but each
has a different perception of the unfolding events. It's hard enough just going to school/college now and days, but these pioneers make you realize what getting a solid education truly means. Facing stigma, racism and legal ramifications, these leaders fought the system and won.
I don't feel bad about giving some of the juicy bits wrapped in this movie because it's based on a true story. There is a man by the name of Melvin Tolson with a dictionary for a tongue and a passion for the truth that pilots the movement within the movie. He's politically charged and some of the naysers, as well as, motivators considered him a radical for the mere fact that he voiced his opinion about events in that time. It's realistic to say that a man like Tolson would be on someone's state-board or congressional party today, but at that time he made the most of the platforms that he had to encourage change. It's idealist like Tolson that have influenced fair practices and policies in the world we traverse today.
One of the most compelling aspects of the movie for me is the amount of gun powder that can be loaded into a single-word or phrase. The debates in this movie make you want to pick up a book and go back to school, I mean the power of a well-spoken word is amazing. The students on the movie speak with conviction and purpose, unlike a lot of people that blab our ears off as we manage our daily responsibilities. Words can motivate, desecrate, strengthen and resuscitate the minds and/or ideas of others. So the next time we open our mouths, let's make sure that it makes sense,,if only to ourselves.
This movie isn't just about word-play or political achievements, it also has a love-story, bold-faced imagery and rounds of applause. I'm not sure if I stood up when the movie was over, but I know that I clapped for a job well done. A lot of movies we watch tend to have one goal in mind and that is to entertain or distract one from their lives for an hour or two. The Great Debaters is a film that does more than entertain, it inspires, it promotes thinking. And if you're reading this, you are a thinker too, so now what will you do?
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