(2014)

Critic Reviews

89

Metascore

Based on 47 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
Selma is one of the best American films of the year — and indeed perhaps the best — precisely because it does not simply show what Dr. King did for America in his day; it also wonders explicitly what we have left undone for America in ours.
100
DuVernay’s razor-sharp portrait of the Civil Rights movement — and Dr. King himself — at a critical crossroads is as politically astute as it is psychologically acute, giving us a human-scale King whose indomitable public face belies currents of weariness and self-doubt.
100
The Playlist
Selma is vital correspondence, filmmaking lived on the streets where brutal facts were ignored then reported, and now snatched back from history to sustain a spirit few films can or will possess. It is stunning humanistic cinema on a mainstream scale... It has inventiveness, urgency, humor, and most of all emotion that draws effortless parallels rather than leaving its lesson up on the screen.
100
David Oyelowo has never given a better performance. He seems to penetrate into King’s soul and camps out there for two hours. He’s tremendous, of course, when electrifying his congregation at the podium, but a sense of fatigue is even more paramount.
91
In a year of remarkable performances, Oyelowo is simply magnificent as Dr. King.
90
Intelligently written, vividly shot, tightly edited, sharply acted, the film represents a rare example of craftsmanship working to produce a deeply moving piece of history.
90
This is cinema, more rhetorical, spectacular, and stirring than cable-TV drama: again and again, DuVernay’s camera (Bradford Young did the cinematography) tracks behind characters as they march, or gentles toward them as they approach, receiving them with a friendly hand.
75
As vital as it is, racial strife is a subject that cries out for a more volatile treatment than this. The Alabama marching sequences and resulting violence, filmed in Selma, where they actually happened, are too understated for my taste. And the home life of King and his vacillating wife Coretta are muted.
75
Slant Magazine
What will make the film essential for future generations isn't mere flashpoint topicality, but the way it aligns an old struggle with a current one.
60
The Guardian
Unimpeachably important, ambitious in its scope and handsomely presented, it has all the hallmarks of a trophy winner, for better and worse.

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