For a television movie, this is really good. True, some of the acting was a bit over the top, and some of the 70s "cop chase" music really needs to go. But overall, it managed to tell the story of a complex man who became an almost reluctant hero. Better still, "King" does not forget that remarkable men are always supported by other remarkable people--and gives them some voice as well.
I was pleasantly surprised that the movie didn't try to deify King, a mistake that has been made too often in the last 35 years. He was a man, with all of the attendant potential for good and bad. But what comes across here is that he tried hard to choose the path he believed would give the Civil Rights movement the best chance for success. I was also glad that the movie showed how engaged and brave Coretta was. Some movies about Martin have tended to push her to the background.
This movie rarely pulls punches, which means it doesn't try to let the government off the hook either, like so many recent movies about Civil Rights tend to do. Despite what movies like "Mississippi Burning" claim, the FBI often hindered the work of the Civil Rights movement--even more than was shown in "King". And the White House was not to be relied upon for unconditional support. No disrespect to previous posters, but it was well known that the Kennedys were often reluctant to get involved in the Civil Rights movement (don't take my word for it--any good history of the Kennedys will admit to it). The Kennedy brothers were always very concerned with the political ramifications of their actions. They were politicians first and foremost. Sadly, it often took a tragedy to push JFK to take action (like the murder of the four little girls in the Birmingham church). That is not to say that the Kennedys did not care at all--because no one really knows what was in their hearts at the time. And I think RFK became more dedicated to the cause after JFK's death. But "King" shows how everyone involved in this turbulent struggle thought and acted strategically. And no one was a saint, but few characters were shown to be thoroughly corrupt. I think the only person portrayed as truly evil was Hoover--but, I must admit, I have no problem with that.
I enjoyed the imaginary conversation between Malcolm X and King. The two men never actually met, but I liked the way "King" managed to express both men's points of view rationally, not as being good and evil, but as being two sides of the same coin. Malcolm wanted to attack the problem and give back as good as he got, keeping in mind the nation's history of violent oppression. He was a revolutionary. Martin was a diplomat, who wanted to change the system itself, and realized that he would need to work with the white government to do so. Neither man was completely right or completely wrong--but both sides were necessary to put sufficient pressure on this country to begin to change its policies. That said, it is eerie the way so many of Malcolm's predictions have eventually come to pass.
I saw this movie a few days after Coretta Scott King's funeral--in the wake of all of the brouhaha about Carter's words about wiretapping, and the political nature of some of the speeches given. I think this movie serves to remind us all that in order to celebrate the lives of the Kings and all that they fought for, we must never forget--nor should we abandon--the ongoing struggle for social, racial, and economic justice.
1 out of 2 found this helpful.
Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.