June 13, 2021 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Film Review: One Night in Miami

One Night in Miami is an extraordinary film crafted by a superb team of filmmakers and cast. Four men who impacted history in the mid 20th Century converge in an imagined motel room in 1964. They are thrown together through the magic of theatre to open a window into the rivers of social upheaval that were coursing through our country. A passionate discourse ensues in the style of Plato or Socrates, illuminating simmering problems of racism and prejudice that percolate beneath what many of us would like to believe is our enlightened culture.

They led four very different lives, yet they knew common social barriers imposed by a culture that pretended to uphold the belief that “all men are created equal.” Each reached for greatness, and in this film each emerges outside his legend, to become simply human.

Cassius Clay (later Muhammad Ali), played by Eli Goree, was born and raised in Louisville Kentucky. He began training as a boxer at the age of 12 and by 18 he had earned a gold medal at the 1960 Summer Olympics. 

Kingsley Ben-Adir as Malcom X.

Malcolm X, brought to life by Kinsley Ben-Adir, moved frequently as a child due to Ku Klux Klan threats to his father, an outspoken community leader. His father was probably murdered, his mother had a mental breakdown and Malcolm was sent to a foster home at the age of 12. A high school teacher told him his aspirations for a law career were not realistic for someone of his color. He dropped out and went on to a life of crime, in and out of jail. He was inspired to read by a fellow convict, found stability in the beliefs of the Nation of Islam and became a mesmerizing speaker. Malcolm was assassinated in 1965 at the age of 35, and up to 30,000 mourners attended his funeral. 

Jim Brown, played by Aldis Hodge, excelled in 5 sports in high school and went on to Syracuse University. He did not endure such instability and rootlessness as Malcolm X, but encountered racism constantly, even after becoming a star running back on the Cleveland Browns. 

You probably know Leslie Odom Jr as “Aaron Burr” in Hamilton. He truly becomes Sam Cooke. As a kid, I used to listen to Cooke on my transistor radio hidden under my pillow at night. Odom’s turn as Cooke is so perfect, it’s eerie. Cooke had a naturally beautiful voice. He developed a style of haunting soul music that was accepted and loved by a mainstream audience and he was active in the Civil Rights Movement. In 1964, when he was 33, Cooke was shot dead by the manager of a motel. His body was shipped home to Chicago where 200,000 fans lined up to pay respects. Back in Los Angeles, Ray Charles sang at his burial service.

Director Regina King has been acting on television and in films since 1985. She has helmed more than 15 episodes of major episodic television. In this first feature as a director, King shows her instincts in using visuals and sound to paint a million words, enhanced by a superb screenplay written by  Kemp Powers from his own stage play.

Eli Goree and Aldis Hodge.

With different methods of attaining their goals, all of these men had the courage to break out of the suppression that society forced upon them. This film lets us feel their pain and their hope.

In the final minutes of the film, Odom sings Cooke’s classic “A Change is Gonna Come,” a human rights anthem cloaked in a haunting blues melody. As the credits roll, he sings another song that he co-wrote with Sam Ashworth, called “Speak Now,” a call to action.

Maybe you grew up knowing these men from the news. Maybe they are strangers to you. No matter. “It’s been a long time comin’ but I know change gonna come…yes it is.”

Kathryn Whitney Boole has spent most of her life in the entertainment industry, which has been the backdrop for remarkable adventures with extraordinary people.  She is a Talent Manager with Studio Talent Group in Santa Monica. kboole@gmail.com

Related Posts

In-Person Events Are Back with Summer Swing Nights: Jazzy Vocals plus Live Big Band – Now with Tap Dance, Swing Lessons, Vendors to Benefit Museum

June 10, 2021

June 10, 2021

Live, in-person entertainment is bringing out happy fans of all ages for Summer Swing Nights: Drive-In Edition. The concert fundraiser features the...

Film Review: “Halston”

June 6, 2021

June 6, 2021

HALSTONRated TV-MATV Miniseries – 5 Episodes/240 Minutes Released May 14th on Netflix Halston lays out the tapestry of the hedonistic disco...

Ben & Jerry’s Closes Santa Monica Shop

May 13, 2021

May 13, 2021

First West Coast Ben & Jerry’s closes up shop on Main Street  By Kerry Slater Ben & Jerry’s has closed...

Edify TV: A Look Into the Cold War-Era as Wende Museum Reopens

May 11, 2021

May 11, 2021

With relics of the Cold War-era on display, the Wende Museum in Culver City has reopened for in-person visits. Learn...

How to Heal the Soil and Why

May 11, 2021

May 11, 2021

By Andy Lopez We all know how important the vital role the soil plays in your plants’ health, trees, and...

Edify TV: Concert Capacity Rules Issue for Small Venues

May 4, 2021

May 4, 2021

Live music is back in LA County but the owner of a Westside jazz club says reopening will have to...

Santa Monica College Student Film to be Screened at Cannes

April 27, 2021

April 27, 2021

SMC student film “Broken Layers” accepted into The American Pavilion at Cannes By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica College (SMC) student...

Film Review: WolfWalkers

April 25, 2021

April 25, 2021

Rated PG103 MinutesReleased November 13th on AppleTV+2021 Academy Award Nomination for Best Animated Film Many years ago, like long ago...

Venice Japanese American Memorial Monument Committee’s Annual Commemoration

April 6, 2021

April 6, 2021

Annual event to be held virtually Thursday April 15 Submitted by the Venice Japanese American Memorial Monument Committee Standing at...

Film Review: Minari

March 31, 2021

March 31, 2021

MINARIRated PG-13115 MinutesReleased February 26th Amazon Prime, Google Play, DirecTV/ Virtual screening on A24films.comWon Golden Globe – Best Picture Foreign...

Film Review: The Mauritanian

March 13, 2021

March 13, 2021

THE MAURITANIANRated R129 MinutesOfficially released in the US on February 19thAs of March 2nd, available to rent on FandangoNOW, iTunes,...

Video: Indoor Dining Close to Returning in LA County?

March 4, 2021

March 4, 2021

Indoor dining could return to LA County very soon. Learn more and hear what diners have to say in this...