I watched Selma last night and thought it was a pretty good movie. I think they took some artistic license here and there from what I’ve learned about Selma. The 16th St. Baptist Church bombing caught my eye. After checking it was about a year earlier than King’s Nobel Prize speech. Maybe it was used to set the stage to show the racial tensions and the type of events that were going on at the time. Pastor Reeb’s and Jackson’s deaths made it look like they died right then and there. Reed passed away a couple days later, and Jackson died about a week later in the hospital from what I could find out. The time line of events could have been spelled out better. Using the type going across the screen as being from the FBI files were a little much and seemed to be misleading since much of the Martin Luther King info is sealed until something like 2027.
Another part of the movie that made me wonder about accuracy was when the affairs came out. I had always thought the affairs came out months before Selma. The movie portrayed King staying home to deal with this situation instead of being isolated from being arrested when the march started. I had always learned it was a strategic move to have King show up later in the march in case he were to be arrested to try and stop the march reaching Montgomery.
I think most of this stuff about King was used to show he was a complex man and to show people he did have human frailties instead of portraying him as a mythical figure we always seem to see him as. Not to take away from him being a great man. It just made him more human.
Other than that, the movie seems to be pretty accurate. I didn’t see anything promoted or advertised that Selma was going to be historically accurate like a documentary type film. Here is an article that comes across being a good description about the movie and it’s inaccuracies, Inaccuracies of Selma. All the hype about portraying Johnson in a bad light. It’s hard to tell. I wouldn’t rule out Johnson and King had some animosities as portrayed in the movie. An article in The Washington Post that seems to refute how Johnson was portrayed in the movie with some links containing phone recordings and other documents if you’d like to check that out. Article on LBJ showing him in a different light in The Washington post.
Here’s another article from the Dailey Beast from a historian that talks about inaccuracies and opinion what could have come across better for the story. Dailey Beast article.
Like I said over all I didn’t really expect this to be exceptionally accurate as far as historical facts. I expected it to be more exploitive than it was in a way. I thought it was going to be really twisted out of context. I don’t think the movie is under attack like some of the media make it out to be. Just criticized mostly.
I would like to see an accurate biography type documentary done on Martin Luther King though.