The Cougar Chronicle

Marshall gives light to civil rights activist

Justin Sanchez, Staff Writer

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Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court Justice, was one of the main drives for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in representing people of color. Reginald Huldin’s Marshall (2017) displays the titular character’s ambition during unjust times while still providing the aura, looks and sound of the 1940s.

A notable element of the film is the way it makes the audience feel they have been transported back to the 1940s. Such feelings can be represented through traditional outfit choices, like daily suit-wearing for men, makeup and hairstyles that were popular in this time period. Traditional music choices were brought to life by orchestrations from jazz composer, Marcus Miller. These characteristics set the scene for a period of American history that was encompassed by discrimination and racism.

The film’s plot follows Marshall’s early law days. While working on a case he joins forces with Sam Friedman, a white insurance lawyer. They work to acquit Joseph Spell, an African-American man, from rape charges against a white woman in Connecticut.

Headed by a strong performance from actor Chadwick Boseman, Marshall is portrayed as a determined, fierce and wise character that you root for from beginning to end. Boseman also allows for moments of emotional vulnerability in his character, but keeps the charisma throughout, allowing some uplifting humor between points in the story.

Josh Gad portrays Sam Friedman, who is reluctant at first and finds it difficult adjusting to wide media-coverage from the case that could tarnish his reputation. What goes from a hesitant partnership at first, evolves into an ambitious duo, seeking justice for those misrepresented. Gad’s character takes on an apprenticeship role under Marshall and later becomes a newly confidant representative of the minorities.

This film leaves an impression on its audience, with various important themes. Sometimes life throws undesirable and unexpected circumstances, and it’s crucial to never give up. Stand up against oppression, and set the example for others to follow. Believe in yourself, and work to attain the impossible.


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