Friday, April 24, 2015

Blog #4: Movie Review of "The Great Debaters"

    • This is a homework assignment assigned: Friday, April 24, 2015.
    • The movie "The Great Debaters" was shown in class. You may watch parts you missed before or after school in Mr. Dawursk's room or rent it at your own expense.  
    • It is also available on the web at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ro0GBmxGdeQ.
    • Final copy due by: Thursday, May 7, 2015.
     
    If done as an essay:
    It is a formal paper which must be typed, double-spaced, and include at least FIVE paragraphs. You are required to write a movie review about the movie “The Great Debaters.”  You will answer #1-3 and analyze ALL three areas below: literary, dramatic, and cinematic sections – (three paragraph body). 
    Final copy due by: Thursday, May 7, 2015.
     
    If done as a blog:
    This is a semi-formal assignment written on the classroom blog of at least THREE paragraphs and TWO responses (3-5 meaningful sentences) to another student. You are required to write a movie review about the movie “The Great Debaters.”  You will answer #1-3 BUT you only have to analyze ONE of the areas:  literary, dramatic, or cinematic sections (one paragraph body). 
    Final copy due by: Thursday, May 7, 2015.
     
    Include the following elements in your movie review: 
    1. In the opening paragraph state the title, and BRIEFLY summarize the plot of the movie. Describe how you truly feel about the film. What is your honest reaction to the film? Did you like/dislike it? Was it confusing? Exciting? Suspenseful? Boring?
    1. In the next three paragraphs analyze the literary, dramatic, and cinematic aspects of the film. Please use examples from the movie to support your analysis.  
     
    Literary – The literary aspects pertains to the story, dialogue and characters. Was there a good story? Are there believable characters (characterization)? Good dialogue? Did the main character change throughout the film (dynamic round)?  What was the main conflict and how was it resolved? Did the story interest you?  Who was the protagonist and the antagonist? Is this a good piece of literature?  Why or why not? Use specific examples from the movie to support your analysis.  
     
    Dramatic – The dramatic aspects pertains to the acting, sets, locations and costumes. Were the actors good? Was the setting or location interesting? Did the actors wear costumes? Was there a famous movie star in the film?  Use specific examples from the movie to support your analysis.  
     
    Cinematic – The cinematic aspects pertain to the camera angles, composition, lighting, music and sound effects.  Were there interesting camera angles, or cool video and sound effects? Did the music match the film?  Use specific examples from the movie to support your analysis.  
     
    1. In the conclusion, rate the film (e.g. two thumbs up! / A+ / Five Stars) and state whether or not you would recommend the film to a friend.

51 comments:

  1. Hope Anderson Hour: 7

    The great debaters is a true story about a college teacher that started a debate team his name is professor Melvin Tolson he was also a communist. The professor chose 4 students to be on the debate team Henry Lowe, Samantha, James, and Hamilton. Their first debate they won after that they was known as undefeated, Hamilton left the group after he found out the professor was a communist. They received an invitation to face Harvard University’s national champions. They won the debate against Harvard students and became undefeated for 10 years. I really like the film it was very interesting in many ways, but confusing in some ways well after someone explained it to me a little more I started to understand it more.

    The dramatic aspects of the movie, “The Great Debaters” were the acting, location, sets, and costumes. The movie had great actors, for example Denzel Washington, Jurnee Smollett, Forest Whitaker, and Nate Parker. Their outfits went very well with the movie; it showed exactly how people dressed back in 1935. The movie depicts how their personalities were and how they tried to have the same personality as the real person. The acting in itself was amazing; it made you feel what people in that day and time were going through, being black, educated, middle class and/or poor. What was really interesting is how Nate Parker character was always able to find a party in other states.

    In conclusion, the movie, “The Great Debaters” was amazing to watch. I would have to give this film, “The Great Debaters,” 5 stars; if I could go higher I would definitely do that. I would recommend this film to everyone, but I know everyone wouldn’t be interested in watching the movie but that wouldn’t stop me from recommending it to people, that’s how great the movie is. And it is just very well put together.

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    1. I thought that the actor that you listed did a phenomenal job. They played the roles of the actual people very well. It really did show us how it actually was back then. It also made me think of how it would be for me if I lived back then in Texas.

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    2. I like your first paragraph about how you felt about the movie but I do wish that you would have explained how some of the movie had confused you and how did you begin to understand it. Other then that I like your facts that you had ,I can tell you payed attention and was interested in watching until the end. I also aree on what you said the film "The Great Debaters" was amazing and its well put together.

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    3. Hope I agree with you the movie was outstanding production , i would also like to give it a higher rating in stars .There's just one thing I'm not disagreeing with you or anything . when you say the film was confusing you shouldve exampled how it was confusing , also example how that person helped you understand it more .

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    4. I agree also the movie was very great .I like how they had the characters set up in the days that they were in like with their clothing and their hair . The movie actually taught me a lot and I really enjoyed it the way the movie was set up really put it together it was really good. Good job hope but I agree with Alexandria on the rating I would have gave it a higher rate .

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    5. I agree with the costumes of the characters, we really got to take that step back in time with them and fully understand the concept. All the costumes had a purpose in the film. The movie to me is definitely under rated and should have higher ratings.

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    6. Hope, I agree with you but you should have gave a little more rating. What confused you about the movie? The production is very outstanding and well put together. I wouldn't say it confusing just have to pay a lot of attention.

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  2. The Great Debaters, A drama based on the true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College Texas. He placed his team on equal footing with whites in the American South during the 1930s, when Jim Crow laws were common and lynch mobs were a pervasive fear for blacks. In the movie, the Wiley team eventually succeeds to the point where they are able to debate Harvard University. This was their 47th annual debate team. It also explores the social constructs in Texas during the Great Depression including not only the day-to-day insults and slights African Americans endured, but also a lynching. I really enjoyed the film, it was very suspenseful, had me on the edge of my chair at all times wondering what was going to come next.


    The dramatic aspect was excellent. The actors played there part so well it made you feel like you were in the movie, very believable. They did wear costumes, it showed you how sharecroppers/lower classed people looked. They wore raggedy, dusty overall sets, strawed hats and dusty shoes. middle classed african americans wore suits and dresses. The location showed you how it looked back in 1935. there werent any streets, sidewalks, or street lights just dusty paths with big tall trees, it looked like the woods. There were three movie stars, Denzel Washington, Forest Whitaker and Jurnee Smollett.

    Overall I give this movie two thumbs up. I recommend everybody watch it. Very uplifting and powerful it shows you what african americans had to deal with. I love films like this because it enhances our knowledge of the things that took place and people need to know there history. Its a great movie evryone should go see it i guarantee you will feel like a different person and have a different mind set about things when its over.

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    1. I thought your description of the clothes they wore, and the setting was very visual. I can imagine the types of clothes they wore from low end to middle class clothes. I really liked on how you used the words raggedy and dusty to describe the sharecroppers clothes. I can also picture a dark forested road with not lights and a dusty road.

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    2. I agree the movie was really uplifting and powerful . It taught me some things that I didn't know. And that's what really made it great because it wasn't like I was watching the movie just for fun I was watching and I was actually learning . Show me you gave some good points and I give you two thumbs up for that . I enjoyed reading your blog

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  3. The Great Debaters is a great and real story that shows an African American debate team and there journey on becoming successful. There were originally 4 students on the debate team but one had to leave because he found out that his debate teacher was a communist. That left 3 on the team, two boys and one girl. This team from Wiley college was so smart and so strong at debating. They were also able to debate white schools. The best debate team was Harvard University, the majority of Harvard was white, including there debate team. Harvard saw how well Wiley was performing and sent an invitation saying that they wanted to debate against them. Mr. Tolsen, the teacher for Wiley college wasn't able to see his team perform against Harvard because he was on the blacklist and was unable to leave the state. The team went on to Harvard and beat them,and ever since that the team went undefeated fore 10 straight years. I enjoyed this movie because there were intriguing scenes that made me want to keep watching it, plus I wanted to see this movie because I thought it was cool to see how an African American college could be so dominant, even during this time, and how they paved the way for many now.

    This story contained 4 main characters, The debate teacher Mr. Tolsen, Samantha (The first girl ever on the team), Henry Lowe, and James Farmer (The youngest on the team). The story is great because its a true story, so everything in this movie was mostly accurate. Mr. Tolsen was a communist, and the sheriff didn't approve of that so he captured him, but soon got released and was able to teach the team, but was put on the blacklist, Samantha was the only and first girl ever on the team and was very strong when it came to debating, Henry Lowe was a little hot headed and wasn't afraid to speak his mind and feelings, and was also an amazing debater, and last James Farmer, he was the youngest on the team and his dad was a smart college professor. throughout the movie you see him grow and become probably the main character. James was the protagonist because since he was young he wasn't one of the lead debaters on the team, but once Henry didn't debate against Harvard, James stepped up and did what he had to do and was a significant reason why Wiley beat Harvard. The antagonist was probably the sheriff because he disliked Mr. Tolsen because he was a communist, he captured his as well and was the reason why Mr. Tolsen couldn't travel with the team to face Harvard because he was on the blacklist. Wiley wanted to face Harvard because Harvard was the best debating team, but Wiley wanted to show them how good they were. Wiley was waiting to get a letter from Harvard about competing against them. Finally they got an invitation and they competed and defeated them. The story was very interesting because it showed me how they changed the world by being an African American college and becoming so successful at debating, even against white schools, and even the best debate team, but was interesting to me was that they were undefeated for 10 years straight. This is very great literature because it shows us pretty accurately what happened, and covered all the keys showing how the group started and how far they came.

    This movie is definitely 5 stars for me because it kept me wanting to watch it, and made me just want to see how it ended because throughout the whole movie your seeing there hard work, and seeing it payoff at the end was a good feeling to see, and the best part is that its a true story. I would recommend this movie to a friend because not only is it a great movie but it shows how these African American debaters became so significant and important to history, even during a time where there was a lot of racial and prejudice issues.

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    1. I totally agree Isaiah, this movie is a 5 star production, I also was anxious to find out if all of there hrd work had played off. I like how you mentioned that it wasn't just a great movie and that it also "shows how these African American debaters became so significant and important to history, even during a time where there was a lot of racial and prejudice issues " ,you made a good point on that, I like your recommendation and your multipul reasons for why it was such a exeptionl film.

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  4. Griffin G. Hour 7

    “The Great Debaters” is a movie about a black college debate team from Texas. This consists of three main characters James Farmer Jr., Samantha Booke, and Henry Lowe. The debaters debate other national black colleges until they start getting noticed by white colleges. Eventually white colleges want to debate them, and at the end Harvard wants to debate them. Harvard ends up losing, and they win nationals. I enjoyed the film, and the fact that it was a true story made it even greater. It was a little confusing in the beginning, and then eventually narrowed in on the main point of the story. Which became an exciting and suspenseful film.

    Cinematics played a big role in the film. For example, the camera angles during the debates always focused on them, and sometimes the audience to show the reaction. The camera angles varied on the debaters. When Ms. Booke was up on the stand they always used strong camera angles such as front, and pan arounds, to show that women could also compete with men. With Jr. the camera angles started out as week ones (side shots) because, he was nervous. During the last debate against Harvard they did close ups on Jr. to show that he had grown, and found a way around his fear. They also had his back facing toward the camera, and he was facing the audience to show that he was the one who was making a debate. With Lowe it was a mix of different angles. When he was giving speeches they used strong angles, to show that he knew what he was doing. When he wasn’t debating they used all sorts of angles to show that he was a confused person that didn’t know how to handle his emotions. Another example of cinematics is lighting. Lighting affected the film. From dark parts of Texas to the bright areas. A good example of this is when Lowe runs away before the last debate. He leaves Booke, and Jr. because they were arguing about what information to use for the debate. He leaves, and goes to a “party” street and its night time so it looks well lit, but still dark. He enters a bar, and the lighting looks like a hazy daytime. Lowe thinks for a bit, then the lighting becomes blurred, and he remembers what the right thing to do is to go back to Booke and Jr. and apologize. Music is another part of cinematics. Again when Lowe enters the bar the music becomes lively. During other parts of the film it was a more depressed melody. Such as when they lost for the first time because Jr. was too scared to debate.

    I would definitely recommend this film to a friend or family member. The fact that it was based on a true story makes it better, and would probably interest the people that would watch it. I would give this film a 10/10 not just for the cinematics but for the other elements such as dramatics, and literature.

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    1. Alexis Baldwin, hr.5
      I like how you described the different camera angles based upon who was debating in the film. I think the angles pertained to the intensity of the speaker's message. I noticed the more sensitive topics the actors spoke upon, the cameras zoomed in more as well. I think you did a great job in capturing the cinematic aspects of this film.

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    2. Hour.7
      You explain things very well. I completely understand where you are coming from with them angles and camera skills on the peosuction. How did the movie confuse you? I agree with you I would recommend it to thousand of people it's very inspiring.

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  5. Faith McCormack
    Hr.7

    The Great Debaters is based on the true story of college professor Melvin B. Tolson (Denzel Washington) who teaches in Texas at Wiley College (which is predominantly black) in 1935. Tolson starts a debate team, which at the time, wasn’t very common in black colleges. The four debaters on the team, Henry Lowe, Samantha Booke, James, and Hamilton go undefeated against several colleges. Henry, Samantha, and James (Hamilton leaves when he discovers Tolson is a communist) continue on their winning streak and eventually get asked to debate against Harvard. At the beginning of the movie, I was little confused as to what the plot was, but as I got farther into the movie the plot became more clear. Overall, the movie was suspenseful as well as exciting and I enjoyed it a lot.

    There were many dramatic aspects in the film such as the location, the costumes, and the actors. The Great Debaters was filmed in many different locations including Marshall, Texas (Wiley College) and Cambridge, Massachusetts (Harvard University). Also the sets were made to look how it did in that time era; there were no paved sidewalks or streets, only dirt roads. Their costumes were based on how people dressed in 1935. The lower class people wore straw hats with worn overalls and worn shoes, and the middle class men wore suits. There also were many great actors in the film, like Denzel Washington, Forest Whitaker, and Jurnee Smollet.

    The Dramatic aspects of the film helped make the film more historically accurate. After watching the movie and the documentary, I think the actors did a good job of depicting the characters that they played. I give The Great Debater 5 stars and would definitely recommend it to anyone who hasn’t seen it because it is a great, as well as inspirational film.



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    1. I agree the dramatic aspects did make it more historically accurate. Their clothing matched perfectly and helped make people know what the time period was and how it was during that period of time. You are also right on how they showed who had more money or who was doing well financially like how Mr.Farmer and his family they wore suits, but the less fortunate had different clothes.

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    2. I agree with your rating but i still feel like they never truly got the diversity in location correctly. it at some points felt as if some of the scenes were shot in the same buildings.I feel as if they were shot in most of there acurate locations but you can only do so much .

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  6. Vales, Myia, Hour: 7

    The Great Debaters is a film about a team of college students in the 1930's, in Texas on a debate team, with a very inspirational leader/coach. They were students from Wiley college and their main focus was to be a great team and get known as winners so they could make it to compete against Harvard, but they all had their own personal things going on in their life. One was struggling with running away from all of his problems, another was struggling with wanting his father to be proud of him and someone else having the girl he wanted, and he other one was struggling with being the only girl and being able to believe in herself. The coach was struggling with fighting for rights for croppers. I personally really like this film. It was a great production in many aspects. My reaction to this movie was that it was exciting because it kept me interested. It made me want it to be longer.

    Literary - The whole story in general was great. It had a great plot and it was put together perfectly. The characters were definitely believable, they said real things and the moments were so intense. For example when James farmer Jr. and his father have a disagreement. That would have to be one of my favorite scenes because the dialogue was realistic and relatable and made me think about when I have a disagreement with my parent because that is usually how it goes. That is a awesome feature to be able to catch the audiences attention with relatable situations. The main character James Jr. did have a change in the movie, he felt more confident and like he could do thing and he believed in himself. He was scared to debate and nervous the first time they went when it was only him and Mr.Lowe but when he got his confidence up he was able to do an amazing job at the end in the last debate. The main conflict of the film was they wanted to be known and get their point across that a little Texas school like Wiley college was just as capable to debate as well as the white Harvard students. In the end they definitely were able to prove this point by defeating Harvard. The protagonists were the Wiley college debate team. Their opponents were the antagonists. This is surely a great piece of literature , because it consists of a great climax and, intense moments, and of course a wonderful ending. Another intense moment I thought was great was when Ms. Booke debated against the white kids about blacks attending white schools. I applaud this scene because she expressed her point so well and got the argument across to them in a great way. She had so much emotion in her words and she caught their attention ,I would have to say that was my favorite scene in the movie.

    In conclusion I would rate the film a 9/10, 4 stars, and two thumbs up because it has everything a movie needs, and it delivers the overall point to the audience. All I would want is a few more fun interesting scenes with all of the characters bonding together and to be able to see more of the backgrounds of the characters because we didn't get to see a lot about them . That would give a better understanding of the characters and their lives. I would recommend this to a friend, because it teaches the lesson to never give up and anything is possible and, that is a great life lesson to be taught.



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    1. Myia, I totally agree with you 100%. I like the way you described Melvin (Denzel Washington) as a inspirational coach. Most of all, I like how you described Henry(Nate Parker) struggled with as a young man basicially saying he would always run away from his problems. Never the less, this movie never had a dull moment in it, it always had the class wanting more.

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  7. Tyreon Boker
    period:7

    The Great Debaters, a story of a group of African America debaters fighting to end the eminence racial segregation in all of Southern America to make a better tomarrow. I.I loved the story, it is filled with racial under tones, and messages. i was kinda hard to keep track of who's who at the beginning of the story with Denzel Washington's character Melvin B. Tolson, going from the typical poor black man covered in dirt to a well cleaned college professor caught me off guard .Not to mention the ending debate when Denzel Whitaker's character had his dramatic pause. I thought he was going to have a hart attack on stage but the suspense made it one of the most powerful scenes.

    I thought the act was great. At some point i was kinda disappointed about the actress playing as Samantha Booke , i thought that they were going for confident black woman but by the end she was turned into a love interest for Nate Parker's character , and even after he had cheated on her, she still ended up with him.The locations were authentic enough that if you don't analyze it you wont realize that the farm where Forest Whitaker's character killed the pig is the same farm where that man was leched and burned.But the scene are so strong and fast that you won't even notice or care.it does not hurt the story at all.

    I give this movie a A++. This movie is afull price big screen TV with the family type of movie. I'd recommend this movie to every one over the age of 15(because to be honest most of this will go over their heads )

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    1. Tyreon, I agree with you about Samantha. Simple fact, I believe she was looking more for "LOVE" other than looking for herself.Also, I agree about the age that should watch this movie to have a better understanding about it. (By the way this is Izaria Allen.)

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  8. I disagree I believe that Samantha Booke was a confident young black woman. She believed in herself and didn't need Mr.Lowe in the long run. Yes that was her love interest but she was also able to hold her own.

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    1. Tyreon I agree with you on the suspense during certain scenes , that did make them more powerful . There is one thing i have disagree with you on , which is where you state that you were disappointed in , jurnee smollett who played Samantha Booke . I honesty feel like there is not a reason to feel disappointed about Ms.Booke, she was very smart , confident , determined young African american women . Ms.booke didnt need her love interest Mr.Lowe .

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  9. Iesha Golden
    Hr. 5
    Plot:
    This movie plot was based upon a true story,it pertained a professor by the name of Melvin B. Tolson ( Denzel Washington ) and he formed up this highly intelligent debate team at a school called Wiley Collage it was located in taxes. There were 3 main debaters their names were Samantha Booke played by Jurnee Smollett, Henry Lowe played by Nate Parker and James Farmer Jr. played by Denzel Whitaker. These students never were slaves but they begin to get a feel of what was happing to fellow black people and how becoming a noticed black team was a bit frightful. Blacks being in a debate team was not herd of, Melvin B. Tolson was the first black man to form one,he knew it would be a struggle but he was willing to take that chance ,to have blacks looked upon as smart intellectual human beings . The debaters were on a winning streak they even gotten noticed by a all white collage called Harvard's University,they were the debate champions and for the first time in history a black debating team went up against them and took home pride,honor ,respect and victory.
    Reaction:
    I truly enjoyed this film ,it caught my eye,rather I say my ears right away by the music I herd playing in the beginning of the movie,the music alone taught me a little about the African American culture. This movie was suspenseful and exciting it lead you on,and kept you on your toes just wanting to know more, for a example when Melvin B Tolson was in his classroom and he was forcefully taking away by the Sharif people, my fellow students and I didn't have a clue of what was going to happen next but we were sure to find out.

    Literary:
    The dialogue was well scripted,it's sequence was well collaborated in this film. Character were very much believable and all of the three main well-rounded characters changed throughout the film, Samantha Booke changed into a more sophisticated young lady, Henry Lowe became a man and finally stopped giving up on this and James Farmer Jr. became a leader,he finally stepped out of his box and stood up for himself,he witnessed what all he saw and tried to make a change. This story interest me a lot, I was determined to finish watching it because it help me see a different view,a view of African Americans who were no slaves but first introduced into the bad habits of racism,from lynching to beatings and being thrown in jail for no reason . This movie was very historical to me and I wouldn't mind watching it again and I wouldn't mind recommending it to other people.
    Over All Thoughts:
    This is truly a 5 star film for me,it's honest, it broke down some of the big situations that occurred back in the day, it informed us people of what things were like for Africa Americans back then, it even taught us something very valuable "you have to do what you need to do,to do what you want to do" I will take these words and cherish them because that saying can be used for anything in life. I enjoyed this historical film ( thumbs up ) .

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    1. I enjoyed how you said the story was inspirational because that debate team truly made a difference in the world. I appluade their courage. It was truly inspirational.

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  10. The Great Debaters is an inspirational drama based on the true story of a small African American college debate team. The movie is filled with harsh reality of racism in the South in the meaning of friendship. The movie was also based on a true story. From the beginning the movie look like it was going to be very boring but it was very interesting . It is truly a fantastic film that shows racism it shows you that you can achieve anything you put effort into.


    The journey of the for young people as they come from the world is exciting inspiring. each character is intelligent and driven in the things of confidence. They all try to stick up for what was right. The Great Debaterskind of talk about how evil racism was backnowledge then. I really like how they have everything put together from the outfits to the hair styles and the way that they spoke . The acting was good and on point. Also the language in the film gave the viewers a full understanding . The movie, I enjoy the music and the way they had lighting throughout the whole movie the movie was suspenseful and exciting .

    Overall as you guys know I really enjoyed the movie that was the first time I had ever seen it. I would say that the movie with two thumbs up , a five star movie. Oprah did a great job creating it and Denzel Washington played a good role all of the characters did. The movie actually told me some things. I will totally recommend this movie to a friend and see if they get the same good information like I did.

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  11. Alexandria Dye A.A 7TH hour
    “The Great Debaters “is a film about a true story. About African Americans students from a historically black college Wiley College, that was debating against white students. Wiley College was the only black college with a debate team in that time, which was 1930 where African Americans were still being hanged. I truly feel that the film was amazing; the reasoning isn’t just because it’s a true story, but how it demonstrated the obstacles African Americans went through.

    Dramatic: the actors in “The Great Debaters” were very good; they acted with so much passion, where they really brought those characters to life. The setting for the film was very interesting, because it established what Texas looked like in time period of the 1930’s. The costumes that was worn in the movie, gave example of what would’ve been worn in the 1930’s. There weren't just one famous movie star in “The Great Debaters” there was two. Forest Whitaker and Denzel Washington, both are determined, talented, passionate at what they do African American men.

    My rating for “The Great Debaters” would have to be five stars, I wish I could rate more stars. The reasoning for that is because it’s an outstanding movie. With an amazing message and in look about how it was to live in that time period. I have recommended this movie, and I will continue recommending it to friends and family.

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    1. I completely agree with the actors acting skills for this movie. They really made use believe that they walked in these characters shoes and did it with passion and realism. Should definately be a 5 star production.

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    2. I also agree. The actors skills were phenomenal. It deserves fives stars. You believed what they were saying and how they were feeling. I enjoyed that.

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    3. Alexis Baldwin, hr.5
      I agree with your use of description on the actors. They were very passionate in their dialogue and made great points in their debate. I believe Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker are two of the most outstanding actors in this film as well. Nice job, Alexandria.

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  12. Have you ever been apart of a team that made a huge impact on its community? Well, in the movie, "The Great Debators", a debate team created by Melvin Folsom literally broke barriers. From someone who is studying theater I found the dramatics of this movie very interesting. I'm going to analyze the acting of the characters along with their costumes, location choices, and the famous actors/actresses who had to portray these characters.

    First, the characters and their costumes. The acting in this movie to me is purely amazing and believable. The best performance to me personally was from Denzel Whitaker (James Farmer Jr.). I just have such a huge respect for young actors taking on such dynamic roles. There was a scene between James and father James Sr. When they were arguing, and James got slapped by his father. The look on this face was so believable and priceless. You literally could feel the tension and pain through the TV screen. The way he portrayed and carried the character throughout the movie was purely amazing. The costumes of some of the characters spoke volumes as well. There was a scene with Denzel Washington (Melvin Tolson) dressed " down" as a farmer instead of wearing his usual suits. His character dressed that way so that the farmers would feel somewhat connected and would at least hear what he had to say and to me that idea was great on the directors part. Lastly, the famous actors who helped inhance these roles were Denzel Washington (Melvin T.), Forest Whitaker (James Sr.), Kimberly Elise (Pear Farmer), and many others. These are of course the actors we all know and love and are most firmiliar with. They have clearly done their research on the characters in order to portray them as accurate as possible. Denzel for example knee his character was funny, strong minded, determined, and highly educated and portrayed Melvin Tolson in that way to the fullest. Every single actor in this movie contributed something to make it as iconic as it is, which is the main reason why I love it.

    In conclusion, "The Great Debators", was an amazing film that has received an average of 4 out of 5 stars. In my opinion 4 out of 5 stars just does not do it justice. This movie showed the triles and tribulations of our fellow black people and has also inspired our people to be better than what people assume them to be. If you ask me, this story is responsible for some of the laws that protect us today, because an unjust law isn't a law at all.

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    1. I feel like you could have gone more in debt about the movie in general, but other then that pretty good. I also agree with your opinion about the characters and costumes. And, I too said 4 stars out of 5.

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  14. Tationna W. Period 7Inspired by the Harlem rennasance "The Great Debaters" is a movie displaying the hardships of minorities living with Jim Crow laws and racism and living how the "caged bird" lives. Technically everyone was free, but the Jim Crow Laws limited everyone's freedoms. It created a s"Separate but equal" society. White's weren't allowed to eat at the same restruants as blacks. Society tried to keep that way of living for as long as it can. I really enjoyed the film. It was very suspenseful. And it resolved into a great change in society.

    What was most shocking about the film was the desire present in the debaters hearts to succeed. The didn't give up. Even when fear was present and they let it get to them and failed. They got up and tried better than before and went 10 years undefeated. The characters where very believable. They made you empathize what people where going through and you receive a better understanding of those times. That's what the movie does. It provides you with a better understanding of that time. The dialogue that was present went very well with the story being told. One of the main, dynamic round, characters were James Farmer Jr. He transformed into a young man with a more mature mindset. That mindset help their debate team take the trophy home. The biggest conflict present in the story was was the debate team trying to change society which would result in changing some of the Laws. The debate team wanted the "Separate but equal" society intertwined. The protagonist was the Professor and the Antagonist was the opposing debaters and the Jim Crow Laws. It was resolved by the debate team proving the accuracy of the laws wrong.

    This film deserves 5 stars. It shows you how hard life was. It's one thing to read about those time during the 1930's and the Harlem Renance, and harsh conditions but getting a visual helps you empathize the feelings of the people who went through this. This movies put the experience and feelings of those times into a visual which provides us a better understanding of those times.

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  15. Isaiah Harris
    Period 5

    “The Great Debaters” was a movie that took place during the Great Depression, in a time where racism and discrimination against blacks was thriving. The movie orbited around the lives of 5 characters who attended Wiley College in Texas; Henry, Samantha, Hamilton, James, and their professor, Mr. Tolson. The movie followed these characters as they take part in their college's debate team. Throughout the movie, each character becomes exposed to hardships and challenges, from debating to racism.

    The dramatic and cinematic aspects of the film are the highlight of this movie because the combination both was well able to keep audiences captivated and attracted to the movie from beginning to end. The outstanding acting from the performers, the music selection, and the cinematography succeeded in building the intensity of the movie, especially during debate scenes. Denzel Washington was the perfect actor to play Mr. Tolson because his voice fits the lifestyle of the character. In the Movie, Mr. Tolson had a very country accent, but he was clearly very intelligent and passionate about teaching his students. Each actor that took the role of any of the main characters did an amazing job at showcasing the characters' personalities.

    In conclusion, I rate this film 5 stars out of 5. The story line of the movie was historically accurate and the actors were well chosen for each role. The selection of music and camera angles blended well with the emotion and drama of each flowing scene. Every part of the film was entertaining; from the first second to the last second. I would recommend this movie to anyone because it is inspiring, dramatic, suspenseful, and historical; it is sure to catch the attention of any audience, no matter what genre of movie one would prefer.

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  16. Izaria Allen

    Hour 7

    "Who is the judge? The judge is God...Why is he God? Because he decides who wins or loses not my opponent ...Who is your opponent? He does not exist....Why doesn’t he exist? Because he is a mere dissenting voice of the truth I speak!!” The Great Debaters, which is based on a true story of Melvin B. Tolson a unique Modernist poet and an Inspirational teacher at Wiley College Texas in the year 1935, which is played by Denzel Washington in the movie. This movie was very inspirational to me, I believe it made me go harder as a person and appreciate my education more. The entire film was very wonderful. Never the Less, at the end I was confused about Samantha and Henry’s relationship. Did she ever forgive him? It was very exciting to see that in the 1900’s African American debaters were able to compete against the top ranked University (Harvard) and win.



    For the Dramatic aspects the actors and actresses did very well on the roles they had to play. The movie stars were Denzel Washington (Melvin B. Tolson), Nate Parker (Henry Lowe), Jurnee Smollet (Samantha Booke), and also Denzel Whitaker (James Farmer Jr.) These individuals had their own significant roles which were played magnificently. The costumes were exactly what people wore in the 1900’s. From the professional suits, the overalls of the black men and the dresses and tights of the men wives. Every costume fit the setting and location. For example, when Melvin Tolson ( Denzel Washington) wore his suits to work and would change to go to meeting people would be so flabbergasted to see him in clothes so normally as those.


    The Great Debaters was a very powerful movie. I would rate this movie as a five stars movie. Not only would I refer this movie to one friend I would recommend this movie to more English classes so they can visualize what people in the 1900’s went through. So that today’s society would appreciate what our ancestors went through for us to be where we are today.

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    Replies
    1. I love how you started with a quote. And, i also agree with your opinion about the dramatic aspects of the movie. And, as I wouldn't have rated the movie a 5 star, i believe that the movie was well made but it could have been done better. But i can understand why you would say it is a 5 star movie.

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  17. Nadjah H. p7

    The Great Debaters is about a Poet and professor Melvin B. Tolson who teaches at Wiley College in Texas of 1935. He decides to start a debate team, something nearly unheard of at a black college. While at first he butts heads with one of his debaters father. Eventually he is able to form a team of strong-minded, intelligent young students, and they become the first black debate team to challenge Harvard's prestigious debate champions and win. I was 12 when I first even heard of this movie, and at that time my grandmother was trying to convince me to watch it. I loved it from the first time I watched it, till now. It has an amazing theme of hope, determination, and motivation, which in this point of time is need for a lot of the teenagers of today.

    While watching this movie I noticed that they talk about every character, no one is left behind in this story. When I watched the film I always thought the acting was amazing, and it fueled my acting fire even more. For example when Professor Melvin B. Tolson said “Debate is blood sport. It's combat. But your weapons are words.” It has always stuck with me because that is how I feel about my acting. I noticed that the conflicts with each character were within them, they had a self-issue to resolve. I’ve always loved how in the end everyone becomes who they want to be, or who they were supposed to be. This is a very great piece of literature because it has what every teen wants, the romance, the self-conflict, and the famous Walt Disney happy ending.

    When I am watching a film I always pay close attention to the acting, it can either make or break good writing. Everything from the costumes, the set, and of course the acting was just outstanding. Denzel Washington is one of my inspirations as an upcoming actress; he was just so great in this film. The team work they did in this film was also my favorite because they just brought everything together. This story and this film are very inspirational.

    This film was great all around, it had everything you want and also need in a great movie. I love close ups because you see the truth in the actors eyes and the emotion they are feeling. When I watch a movie I now always look at the eyes of the person because in my current film class we are learning about what tricks are best. I love this movie; the message is great for all the drama that is happening now. I of course would recommend everyone to watch it.

    I give this film five stars. I love everything about it, the plot, what it’s about, and the message it sends to young teens. I want everyone to watch this and feel what I was feeling from being upset with certain characters, to wishing they would just speak up. Everything about this film is great, the acting and emotion was awesome. A+ and five stars from me.



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  18. Alvaro Rodriguez
    Hour 7
    “We do what we have to so we can do what we want too” said a character in The Great Debater. The Great Debater is a movie that was based on a true story, it was focused on a debate team and how they became one of the best debate team in the country. The debate team consist of Samantha Booke, Henry Lowe, and James Farmer Jr. and the professor that led the team was Melvin B. Tolson. The movie showed how they struggled to become a great debate team even though the actual time line of the story that the movie was about was made during the Jim Crow Law time. All the team members were African American because they went to an all-African American college. Melvin B. Tolson taught the team that life isn’t what it seems, that they have been blinded by the safe place that they call home. The team members all kind of grew up when they started competing because they started actually noticing what was wrong with the world. This movie was very inspirational in a way that it changed the way that I thought that the Jim Crow law period was lived. I thought that every African American lived in poverty but in this movie it showed that period in a different way. It did keep the class awake, meaning it was a good movie. It was a subject that connected with our lesson but also with some of the student’s history.
    The cinematic portion of this movie was well made. The music chosen for some of the scene were well chosen because they fit the mood that the characters were in. The camera angles were well placed, it made the movie more interesting. There was a scene where the team was getting on the train to go to Harvard and they found out that Melvin B. Tolson wasn’t going the movie scorer chose a song that made it sad but happy at the same time.
    It was a great movie. I give it 4 stars.

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  19. Alexis Baldwin, hr.5, AA

    The Great Debaters is based on a true story. A predominantly black college formed a debate team in 1935 with poet and professor Melvin Tolson as their leader. There he developed the most four strong minded, intelligent young students to become the conquerors and the first black team to challenge Harvard's debate champions. This movie creates a great idea of the struggles that blacks had faced during those times with a series of scenes that projected the cruelty, discrimination and lynching that they so often experienced. This film has enlightened me of the world I live in today. It helps me understand the struggle that blacks had to overcome to be exactly where we are now. I was intrigued by this film because it made me feel as if I had went back into time and lived a whole other life.

    The dramatic aspects of this film were phenomenal. The language use was highly credible because unlike today, the actors spoke with little to no use of slang and also used "Yes Ma'am, No Sir" a lot as how life back then did as well. The background settings were very outstanding. The vintage cars and country side homes and neighborhood created the illusion that we were taken back to the 1930's. Their costumes were another nostalgic aspect that caught my attention. They dressed very formal in button ups and trousers and long dresses and panty hose. This film did a marvelous job in capturing the dramatic aspects that occurred in 1935.

    I recommend everyone to watch this film at least once in their lifetime to be reminded of the victory that blacks had consistently strived for. The universal theme of this film is to do what you have to do so you can do what you want to do. This a powerful piece of advice to our youth because it is us who make the future. I give this film a two thumbs up.

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  20. NOTICE: This blog will close this Friday, May 15th. After Friday, students desiring to complete this blog will have to notify Mr. Dawursk before starting OR will have to submit it in the essay format in order to receive proficiency credit.

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  21. Destiny Graves hr.5
    Part 1:

    The movie "The Great Debaters" was a very interesting story. It was very interesting and exciting. In many parts of the movie it caught my attention making me want to watch it even more. I thought the movie was very touching. As we watched the movie and learned more about how prejudice the whites were towards the colored people back in that time I believe because of how hard those colored people fought for equal rights to be able to debate against whites, colored people being able to attend schools and college with whites it made a significant impact in history today. I loved the film and would watch it a million times if could.

    The Literary aspects of the film , the story line was really good. The film was amazing I was very interested in how These four colored students auditioned to be on a debate team coached by a very intelligent man who was also their professor by the name of Mr.Tolson. Picking the best debaters to be on the debate team for Wiley college he made sure to put them down the road of success. Samantha Booke the first colored female student to be apart of the debate team fourteen year old James Framer, Henry Lowe, and Hamilton Burgess Mr.Tolson trained these colored students to become the best. The dialogue was great the way each character played their part so well. The film was well done the facial expressions and reactions the actors reacted to each situation made the film become interesting as the movie continued. As the film went on we watched as each student and the main character or character's change. We watched as the characters matured and became successful in what they do. Because of being on the debate team experiencing everything they went through to become better then they were once before made them be able to better themselves. In this film there were many parts of conflict such as Mr.Tolson being arrested for bringing farmers and share croppers together, racism, Lynching Mobs, and the prejudice Deputy and officer's the conflict was soon resolved. Because it was not illegal for Mr.Tolson to have a small gathering with farmers and share croppers when he was arrested he was soon released because the deputy had no proof or legal right to arrest him. They learned to continue to fight for their rights and continue to earn their rights to debate against white colleges as well as everyone else. This film did interest me watching how dominate these colleges were so well trained to be the best debate team we watched how determined these colored students were to win the debate. Because of the incident with Mr.Tolson's arrest one student was forced to quit the team but that didn't stop James,Samantha, and Henry to continue on their journey of success in debate. It only made the team stronger making them become an undefeated team. The protagonist in the film would probably be James,Samantha, and Henry. I think they were the protagonist because the film focused on these colored kids where they came from and how their life on the debate team things they experienced while being on the team changed their lives. The antagonist in the story were the prejudice whites and the angry lynching mobs. The Deputy and lynch mobs were always very angry throughout the film they disliked the colored people and the Deputy tried doing everything he could to stop Mr.Tolson from keeping his debate team to continue. This film was a very good piece of literature it taught the different movements during segregation how difficult it was as a colored person in Marshall Texas what colored people went through making history and a huge impact on what life would be like today if it weren't for things like that.

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  22. Destiny Graves, Hour 5
    Part 2:
    Cinematic aspects in the film happened with the lighting music and costumes the characters wore during the film. The men would dress in a nice suit and tie and the women wore a nice dress. To play the part the farmers and share croppers were dressed in dirty overalls and baggy clothes as if they were working outside all day. The music matched the film at certain parts of each scene. while on their way to another debate Mr.Tolson and the kids ran into a lynching mob the kids had never experienced anything like it before. They had never seen anyone being lynched everyone except for Samantha and James had seen it before. The Lynching made Henry upset so he decided to take it out on getting drunk because of the relationship he had built with Samantha she felt terrible when she caught Henry cheating with another female. After having a really bad argument at Harvard he decided to leave and drink again he thought about what happened and returned in this part the Camera zoomed in a close up to Samantha as she slept when she awoke Henry was watching over her the music went from the more harsh and loud tone as they argued to a gentle soft and slow beat. The music and angles of the camera that zoomed out and caught side shots showing the reactions of the audience during debates and angry lynch mobs running towards them.

    I would rate this film five stars I enjoyed watching this film it was very interesting it had lots of parts that left me wondering what was going to happen next. This film taught many different things from racism to becoming the best if you keep trying. I would recommend this film to a friend I enjoyed it I'm sure they will as well. The quote "we do what we have to do,to do what we want to do" that was once told in the film to the students was very inspirational. This film was very well done.

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  23. The Great Debaters is a movie that depicts what blacks had to go through during the Jim crow laws. The movie shows these young teens who wish to debate in college. The movie gives insight on how each student struggled in there own way as they went through debates and grew stronger together just like a family and that is how the group makes it to the debate against Harvard University to prove themselves as the great debaters. I feel that the movie is great I love how it shows the struggles everyone had to face in the past just to be heard and shows that all it takes is a little courage to be heard in a world where people are not being treated equally. The film was very heart felt to me it filled my body with emotions as if I was actually their living it with them. The dramatic aspect of the movie was great in my eyes the actors made the movie, they made the emotions of what they were feeling in the story.  The setting of the story just made everything better it made it seem as if you are already there living and seeing what they were. The way they dressed made you see how they dressed back then and made it seem more realistic. By having Denzel Washington play the teacher just made the movie so strong and powerful because he played his part right down to the T. I would rate this movie ten     🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟and I recommend it to everyone the ages of 15 and up, this movie is just great for historical insight.

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  24. Vincent K Hour 7

    The movie “The Great Debaters” is based on a true story, about an African American debate team from Wiley College in Texas. Portrayed by Denzel Washington, debate coach Melvin B. Tolson forms a debate team entirely of African-American students that competes, and is on equal skill level as whites in the American South during the 1930’s. The movie also shows the racism in Texas during the Great Depression, including the everyday prejudice and insults African-Americans endured. The film entirely was phenomenal. Throughout the movie the literary, cinematic, and dramatic aspects of the film were tremendous.
    The literary aspects that pertain to the story were marvelous in several ways. The movie was very well written throughout the film, as well as the dialogue between the characters which was well thought-out. The characters were well portrayed by the actors that were portraying them. The story interested me in several different ways, but primarily because of how well and how articulate the actors were when they spoke.

    The dramatic aspects that pertain to the story were superb in several ways. The acting overall was great. The performance by the actors had me at the tip of my chair throughout the film. Throughout the movie you could feel the intense emotion of the actors, for example the role of Melvin B. Tolson who was excellently portrayed by Denzel Washington, who which spoke with great articulation and passion throughout the film.

    The cinematic aspects that pertain to the film were extraordinary in several ways. The different angles during different scenarios brought out the intensity in scenes. The music in some of the scenes also intensified the emotional and also dramatical parts in the movie. Overall the cinematic aspects in the film were great, and definitely gave it zest and flare.

    In conclusion, the film was overall phenomenal. The intriguing dialogue and articulation in the literally aspects of the film made it interesting to watch. The passion and intense emotion in the dramatic aspects of the film made it excellent. The directing and music in the movie made it subtle, yet intense. This movie was absolutely spectacular, and I would definitely recommend it to a friend.

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  25. Alfreda Womack hr 7


    The Great Debaters is a true story made into a film. The story is about a professor (Denzel Washington) who starts a debate team for Wiley College. Three young adults are on this debate team basically un-defeated and they get to defeat Harvard and they win. The film itself is a very great well put together film. I like how it’s very realistic and the characters are played well. My honest reaction to the film was shocking, because these great minds were put together and they went through a lot being in Texas in the time period that they were in. The film was very exciting and I couldn’t take my eyes off of the projector.

    Literary- The movie itself was put together very well. The characters were picked to perfection, because they act so well with dominance in their voices. They are very strong actors and were made for the part. My favorite character had to be the character Jurnee that played Samantha Booke. She played the part of so well. It was very believable and you can tell she studied that person. For example when she came back to class after the feud that happened at the house with finding her boyfriend cheating , she slapped him and moved on with her day like a woman should and she played that part so excellent because as an actress you have to make sure that your character is believable. When she was debating she had much dominance in her voice and when she spoke the whole room was just quite. A true actor has you mesmerized by their acting. Even though at first she wasn’t strong how she should have been she changed and that’s all that counts. The way she changed, did changed the story and it made it even more great then what it already was.

    Overall the film and the actors get an A+ from me. It was put together so nice and it seems like they worked very hard and long on the film. From the accents to the way they walked showed that they studied really hard. I would defiantly recommend this film to a friend because they message in the film is very strong.

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    1. Hour 7.
      Tanzia the I agree with you I would give this movie an a++. A true actor does have you memorized and pitting yourself in there shoes.the movie is just speechless.

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  26. The great debaters was first and for most a true story. The story was about a black debate to who was experiencing a lot of things. They began to win debates and the a college call Harvard wanted to debate then.
    The black debate team conflict was trying to win a debate with Harvard. This conflict was solved by the debaters practicing and stating good issues to win the debate.
    There wasn't a main character in the play to me. If you were to argue the main character might have been Farmer. Simply because he was shown a little more in one on one conversations. In some situation he was telling about his self a little more. Honestly all character were shown equally it was a team of debaters.
    Literary aspects the movie was well put together. The characters wgere chosen very good. They were beyond believable, especially showing emotion and In arguments. Once again there wasn't really a main character.
    In conclusion the story was very influential. This movie states and shows how black people are intelligent and should not be judges by the color of there skin, but the mind that they have. I would rate this movie a 100 and recommend it to a friend.

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  27. Koren D. Hour 7.
    In class we watched a movie called The Great Debaters. It is about a group of young black college students participating and defying their odds on a debate team. It has twists of romance, trouble and communism. I honestly enjoyed the film. I've seen it once or twice before we watched it in class but I've never paid as close attention. I thoroughly understand it now and actually get the message behind it. It's exciting to feel this way.

    I'm going to talk about the dramatic aspect of the film. I think it was well put together. The scenery gave you a full sense of the times and the vibes. In the scene where the doctor hit the pig with his car, the actors portrayed the scene in the best way my imagination could create. The confrontation was completely unfair and biased which in those times, I imagine, was "normal". Denzel Washington was one of the main characters. He's a very famous actor who's known for being handsome, strong, and amazing in his parts. I think his name held the movie up as well as his theatrical identity held the plot together.

    In conclusion, I would give the movie 5 stars. I enjoyed it. I love to share things I enjoy. It was a pleasure to watch. It'll open anyone's eyes to the realities of how life was for even an intelligent black wo/man in America. Hopefully, even to realize that in different forms, we face the same segregation and hardships today as black people.

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  28. Wow! this is Amazing! Do you know your hidden name meaning ? Click here to find your hidden name meaning

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