…one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Our pledge of allegiance doesn’t command us to pick and choose liberty and justice for those of a certain race or religion. It clearly states “for all.” just as we’re supposed to love one another. Sadly neither has happened throughout history. Marshall is a movie about a great American that stood in the gap for such justice.
Set in the 1940’s, Marshall follows pioneering Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in his earlier years as a lawyer for the NAACP. A married white socialite in Greenwich, Connecticut, accuses Sterling K. Brown of rape and attempted murder. Out of fear of losing her marriage, and status in the community, she was willing to destroy another human being.
It’s fair to say Chadwick Boseman is becoming one of the best actors of his generation. Chadwick Boseman is suave in his portrayal as the future Supreme Court Justice. He reminds me of a young Sydney Poitier with his quiet confidence and his cool style. Boseman has taken on film versions of such icons as Jackie Robinson in 42 and James Brown in GET ON UP, so he likely jumped at the chance to play the revered figure, Thurgood Marshall. Mr. Boseman has true movie star screen presence, and portrays the young Mr. Marshall with a self-assured swagger that accompanies a brilliant legal mind – a mind that refused to be ignored during a time it was desperately needed. The film does portray Marshall honestly as a smoke, drinker and hints at carousing. The common flaws of a great man.
Josh Gad plays opposite of Boseman as a young Jewish attorney, Sam Friedman. Slowly a friendship develops between the two men and they soon find that they have more in common that they first thought. Neither is an accepted member of the community; one because of his religion and one because of his race.
This film is a historical heavyweight with a very good screenplay. The touches of comedy bring a welcome balance to its tension-filled courtroom and difficult subject matter. I appreciate that Marshall takes its subjects seriously, but doesn’t take on a dreary tone doing it. The scenes in the courtroom are intense and keep you interested in the action. As the case develops, these scenes get more and more engaging.
In 1967 when Lyndon Johnson appointed Marshall to the Supreme Court it wasn’t his race that made Marshall’s appointment unique. It was the whole level of experience in the kind of law he practiced for people like Sterling K. Brown. Marshall believed the goal is justice and the law must work for all for justice to be realized.
Overall the movie is both gripping and inspiring. The entire cast is excellent, and I was emotionally invested the whole time. Marshall will move viewers both to tears and anger from start to finish, and I highly suggest you go see it. Vow to follow your moral compass even when it’s hard.