MARSHALL
Rated PG-13
118 Minutes
Released October 13th

Marshall is a relevant and timely movie – a gripping story taken from the life of Thurgood Marshall, the first African American member of the US Supreme Court.

The movie focuses on a case that Marshall tried early in his career as an attorney for the NAACP. The film provides great insight into the traits that propelled him to the heights of the US Justice system.

One of Marshall’s great-grandfathers was born in the Congo, captured by slave traders and shipped to the US.

His grandfather was also a slave. His father was a railroad porter and his mother a teacher.

Marshall was born in Baltimore in 1908. He graduated early from high school and went to Lincoln University with the goal of becoming a lawyer. His classmates included poet Langston Hughes and musician Cab Calloway.

In the beginning he was not the most serious student, a participant in many college pranks.

Then he became a star on the debate team and joined a sit-in against segregation at a local movie theatre.

Hughes later described his classmate as “rough and ready, loud and wrong.” Marshall was unable to apply to his first choice for law school, the University of Maryland School of Law, because of their segregation policy, so he attended Howard University where he graduated first in his class.

He started a private law practice in Baltimore, and in 1934 began his 25-year affiliation with the NAACP.

This biographical film plays as a psychological/ sociological mystery thriller.

It’s based on a real case that Marshall tried for the NAACP, in which he represented a black man accused of rape and attempted murder by a white female socialite.

Although the story covers only one case in Marshall’s career, it provides deep insight into his personality and principles.

Chadwick Bozeman noted that the film’s script contained140 pages, yet the shoot was finished in 30 days.

Director Reginald Hudlin had to know exactly what he wanted in order to shoot this complex story so expediently.

The movie employs visual concepts to convey thoughts and settings.

These glimpses tell a dramatic story in pictures – a tapestry of history, vision and color…an angry white man’s clenched jaw on the courthouse stairs, Marshall’s polished shoes as he walks purposefully down the building’s marbled floor.

The film’s extraordinary editing never drops a beat from beginning to end. The musical score sets up the time period and provides a human element to the cold courtroom.

The chemistry between Bozeman and Josh Gad, who plays Marshall’s counterpart “Sam Friedman,” is exceptional.

Kate Hudson as the socialite has produced some of her best work ever.

Chadwick Bozeman is perfectly cast as Marshall. Bozeman really “gets” the inherent feisty personality and strength of conviction with which his character was endowed, traits that allowed him to never back down from defending what he believed to be right.

Bozeman was able to capture the confidence that allowed Marshall to avoid letting the status of being black in America affect the way he carried himself. Thurgood Marshall, luckily for us, was above all a human being who reused to be defined by what others thought he should be.

Kathryn Whitney Boole has spent most of her life in the entertainment industry, which is the backdrop for remarkable adventures with extraordinary people. She is a Talent Manager with Studio Talent Group in Santa Monica.

kboole@gmail.com. For previously published reviews see https://kwboole.wordpress.com

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