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Selma | 2014 | PG-13 | - 2.5.5

The story of the civil rights marches in Selma, Alabama, led by Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) in 1965. Also with Giovanni Ribisi, Tim Roth, Oprah Winfrey, Cuba Gooding Jr., Carmen Ejogo, Martin Sheen, Tessa Thompson, Alessandro Nivola, Dylan Baker and Tom Wilkinson. Directed by Ava DuVernay. [2:07]

SEX/NUDITY 2 - We hear a recording of a man and a woman making sexual sounds and a wife asks her husband if that is him; he denies it. A wife asks her husband if he loves any of the others (implying his extramarital lovers) and he says, "No."
 A husband and his wife hug and speak of the future.
 We see a woman asleep in bed and her bare shoulders are showing above the sheets. A woman's dress is low-cut in the back and reveals her bare upper back. A young man's dead body is seen in a morgue and his bare chest and abdomen are seen with a bullet hole in his chest.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 5 - Several young girls walk down a flight of stairs in a church and there is a huge explosion that blows through the wall; we see the rubble and dead bodies as the dust settles.
 Police beat many people in a street (we hear thuds) and the people scream and run; the police chase a young man, his father and sister into a diner where they beat the older man, hold the young woman by the throat and shoot the young man (we see blood on his chest as he falls to the floor dead). Two preachers are called a derogatory term for sympathizers and chased by several men who beat them to death with baseball bats and we hear that they were kicked in head.
 A long line of people walk across a bridge and toward a gathering of armed troopers (some on horseback) and spectators holding baseball bats wrapped with barbed wire; the troopers fire smoke canisters into the crowd and they cough and turn to run as the troopers and others chase them and beat people as they fall to the ground; we hear gunshots fired and see a woman beaten on the ground (we see blood) while a trooper on horseback whips a man as he runs away. Many people stand in front of a courthouse and then kneel; officers with clubs stand on the steps and order the people to leave; one officer shoves his way through the people and hits a young man in the stomach repeatedly before a woman hits the officer on the head and she is tackled and held by several other officers. A man punches another man in the face and he falls to the floor.
 A young man talks about being attacked by a mob and that his friend was unconscious but they kept beating him and that a little girl dug her nails into his face. A man grieves over his dead son's body in a hospital morgue (we see the body with a bullet hole in his chest) and another man tells him, "God was the first to cry," when his son died.
 Many people line up and walk across a bridge arm-in-arm toward a gathering of armed troopers who are ordered to stand down.
 A man and the President of the United States argue in several scenes and the President is dismissive of the man's entreaties. Two men argue bitterly over the mission of their student movement.
 A husband and his wife argue through prison bars (the man is in a prison cell). A woman answers her telephone and we hear a man's voice presumably making threats as she hangs up the phone angrily. A man plots to "dismantle the family" of another man. A man says, "This is as good a place to die as any, I guess." A man says, "To raise white consciousness requires drama." A woman talks about receiving phone calls that threaten to kill her children. A man talks about another man being murdered in his own driveway. Several people discuss "murderers protected by white people," referring to the people who were responsible for a church bombing that killed several young girls. A sign reads, "Serving white people only." A man says, "They are going to ruin me so that they ruin this movement." A man says, "Racism killed our brother."
 A man denies a woman's application to vote after quizzing her because she is African-American.


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LANGUAGE 5 - About 2 F-words, 1 obscene hand gesture, 6 scatological terms, 3 anatomical terms, 14 mild obscenities, 26 derogatory terms for African-Americans (1 spelled out on a voter registration form), name-calling (Malcolm X-types, militants, fool, political and moral degenerate, agitators, fanatics, boy, mongrel, ignorant preachers, malcontents, Uncle Tom, back water, back woods white trash, evil abnormal beast), 5 religious profanities (GD), 6 religious exclamations (Oh My Lord, God, Holy [scatological term deleted], How In Christ's Sake, Jesus H Christ, Right By God).


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SUBSTANCE USE - A man smokes a cigarette on his porch.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Racism, Civil Rights Movement, Voters Rights, Martin Luther King Jr., Selma Alabama, heroism, Nobel Peace Prize of 1964, Voter Rights Act of 1965, dignity, equality, segregation, Malcolm X, intimidation and fear, bus boycott, protests, poverty, McGovern, prejudice, John F. Kennedy assassination, Malcom X assassination, sacrifice, morality, hate, poll taxes, guilt, legacy, voting voucher, trust, betrayal, infidelity, eye for an eye, injustice, history and fate, inhumanity.

MESSAGE - The Civil Rights Movement was necessary and is still being fought.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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