Genre Guesstimation – Marshall (2017)


The idea behind this feature (Genre Guesstimation) is for me to watch a bunch of new movies (or ones that I haven’t seen many times) from the chosen monthly GG genre in order to expand my knowledge of movies within that particular genre.

This month’s Genre has been chosen by Vinnie of Vinnie H. and it is Historical True Story Films.

Please get me your submissions by the 25th of February by sending them to vinnieishistory@movierob.net

Try to think out of the box! Great choice Vinnie!

Let’s see if I felt that this movie would be worthy of being in the company of my others favorite movies in the genre of Historical True Story Movies.

 

“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think we could win.” – Thurgood Marshall

Number of Times Seen – 1 (4 Feb 2018)

Brief Synopsis – In 1940, a young black lawyer for the NAACP partners with a Jewish lawyer in Connecticut to defend a black man accused of raping his white employer.

My Take on it – This is another film that I’ve been meaning to see in order to try and complete my Oscar ‘list’ before the Award show in a month.

This film only has one nomination (for Best Original Song – Stand Up for Something by Common and Dianne Warren).

The story itself is quite interesting and knowing that it’s based on a true event makes it even more poignant to watch.

The message about prejudice in the North is quite powerful because it deals with how minorities dealt with life in those states even during a time when we all expect things to have calmed down.

I liked the way that this film doesn’t shy away from showing how open people were at that time about these issues.

Many people have praised Chadwick Boseman’s performance in this film, but I think Josh Gad is able to actually outshine him in many of his scenes because his character is more vulnerable and unsure of himself.  This is further proof that Gad has so much more to give us and keeps showing us how great an actor he can be.

They do the courtroom scenes quite well and keep things moving the whole time while still getting of clear picture of what is truly happening.

This is a film that is quite good, but seems to feel as if something is missing (or even held back) that would make it an even better story.

Check out the Oscar nominated song here:

Bottom Line – Very interesting true story that is quite poignant and has a powerful message about tolerance in the North during the 1940’s.  Boseman is fine here but Gad once again proves how great an actor he can be.  The courtroom scenes are done really well and we get a clear picture of the way things works in America during that time period when it comes to prejudice.  Despite being quite good, it’s still missing something that would have made it even better. Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – The synagogue that Sam Friedman is shown attending with his family is called Temple Rodef Shalom. “Rodef shalom” is Hebrew and means “pursuer of peace.” The Talmud applies this label to a person who stands for justice, as Friedman’s character does in this movie. (From IMDB)

Genre Grandeur Worthy? – Comes close. Nice biopic, but it’s missing something to make it amazing and rewatchable.

Rating – Globe Worthy (7/10)

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5 thoughts on “Genre Guesstimation – Marshall (2017)

  1. Hey Rob. Agree with you almost 100% on this one. And I think I can put my finger on what it is that’s missing – and would make it memorable, “amazing and re-watchable”, to use your words – a better case. Thurgood Marshall was an amazing man – an accomplished man – and what this film set out to do was to show that – during the part of his life before he rose to the Supreme Court. I grew up in CT (my father was an attorney – and he was doing criminal cases here about a decade or so after the time period during which Marshall was set, in Bridgeport) – but I’d never heard of this case – so it intrigued me. To start. But what didn’t work for me – and what I think was ultimately a major shortcoming in the film – was the subject matter of the case. Marshall was involved in dozens if not 100s of cases on his way to being a Supreme Court justice – and I assume the makers of this film could’ve cherry picked any one out the pile to wrap the movie around. The one they chose – besides the fact that I figured it all out and knew what was going on and how he’d win – was mundane. Run of the mill. Been there, seen that. It wasn’t big enough or interesting enough or different enough to hang the movie on. It was like a TV movie, or even a TV episode – one that seemed familiar, nothing special – like from Law & Order SVU. It had a lived in feeling – which made it common – and a poor choice to use as the backdrop for this man’s incredible story. A better case would’ve made a better backdrop and in turn a more rousing, substantial, important movie.

    Like

    • I think Michael hit the nail on the head. The only thing I would add is that the subject matter of this case is also out of step with our sudden post-Weinstein environment since it calls for our heroes to poke holes in a woman’s rape allegations. A movie about his biggest case, Brown v. Board of Education, would probably have worked better.

      Rob, you also make a great observation about the performances of Boseman and Gad. Boseman was good, but Marshall is written as a superhero, not a person. Gad’s character felt much more real and Gad played him excellently.

      Liked by 1 person

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