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The Great Debaters

Old 12-30-07, 08:42 PM
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The Great Debaters

Denzel Washington wears 2 hats in "The Great Debaters", a story about how a small college like Wiley College (all black) in 1935 ends up challenging prestigious Harvard University in a debate, though their road to Cambridge was very twisty and bumpy, providing somewhat of a crucible for the members on the debate team. Denzel not only stars as Melvin Tolson (Wiley professor and advisor to their debate team), but handles the directorial reins. Obviously, you can see the passion for the story from Denzel, and the story does explore some dark times for black Americans in the mid 1930's, but it also ushers in a new era where education is looked upon as a means to better one's self and advance through society and open doors for others when opportunity was denied to blacks for so many decades, even after the end of the Civil War.

It was a treat to watch Denzel and Forest Whitaker on-screen together as men with differing styles of advancement and betterment, and dealing with societal pressures that sought to suppress the rights of not only blacks, but the rest of the available pool of workers when conditions did not favor workers. The rest of the cast (mainly the debate team members) do a nice job of learning from their experiences and are given enough room to breath and grow. As most films based on true stories, it's a little on the predictable side as we head for the home stretch, but getting there was more than worth the price of admission.

I give it 3 stars, or a grade of B.
Old 12-30-07, 10:23 PM
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Saw this on Last week and was thorouoghly impressed. Great movie and a definite purchase when it drops!
Old 12-31-07, 07:42 AM
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I loved the movie too. The performances were top notch. It was a traditional sports movie but it felt like more than that. I only had one tiny complaint which really isn't a complaint
I know why the writers did it but I think I would have liked it better if they didn't manufacture a loss (and I'm really happy they didn't actually show it). It would have been cool to show the undefeated season that the team actually accomplished

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