In school many of us heard the name Thurgood Marshall after all he was the lawyer who won Brown v. Board of Education which desegregated schools across America and then he went on to be the first African-American Supreme Court Justice, but this past weekend the world was gifted a look into the origins of this mighty civil rights superhero when “Marshall” opened in theaters.Thurgood Marshall (Chadwick Boseman, “Black Panther“, “Get On Up“) the NAACP’s only lawyer travels America fighting for the rights of all African-Americans that are wrongly accused. Returning back to the office after a hard loss, Thurgood is greeted with yet another case and the news that this just might be the last case for the NAACP if he can not win…the funding is drying up. The case of the Joseph Spell (Sterling K. Brown, “This Is Us“, “The People Vs. OJ Simpson“) was a case that saw a white socialite, Eleanor Strubing (Kate Hudson, “Deepwater Horizon“, “Rock the Kasbah“) accuse her black chauffeur of rape and sparked an uproar in the quaint New England town of Greenwich. Thurgood arrives amidst the uproar and because of state bar rules must be introduced into court as he is not licensed to practice in Connecticut by a local attorney. Enter Sam Friedman (Josh Gad, “Murder on the Orient Express“, “Beauty and the Beast“) a local insurance lawyer and most unwilling participant in this sensationalized court case. The odds stacked against them Sam is soon up to his ears in the case as the judge (James Cromwell, “American Horror Story“, “Boardwalk Empire“) refuses the petition to allow Thurgood the ability to try the case going so far as to appoint Friedman and ban Marshall from even speaking in court. The two unlikely partners must work together to prove their client’s innocence amongst an onslaught of bigotry and hatred. Is their client telling the truth? What really happened that fateful night?
“Marshall” based on one of Thurgood Marshall’s first cases is a wonderfully thought out film that gives us insights into the mindset of a time in history that sometimes does not feel that far away. The story of this sensational case begged to be told and though the story case was over 70 years ago the echos of the underlying story is just as powerful and relevent today as it was all that time ago. “Marshall” delivers us a thoughtful script with poignant undertones and paired with the excellent execution of the writers (Jakob & Michael Koskoff) words by this all-star cast the film is a must see. The director, Reginald Hudlin (“Boomerang“), took the story and through well done visuals made the story jump from the page to the screen pulling us deeper into the world of this very flawed but hopeful time.
“Marshall” is a great film that though a definite must see could have been even greater with just a little more push and refinement of script in particular Thurgood’s private life. With that said if you are looking for a great film that touches on some very real topics that still are relevant in this day and age with a fantastic cast that gives us some very solid performances or heck if you are just curious about the man behind the legend and how he got to be where he did then “Marshall” is the movie for you.