The Great Debaters – 2007 – English
Film directed in 2007 by Denzel Washington, and starring Denzel Washington, Forest Whitaker, Kimberly Elise, Jermaine Williams, Nate Parker, Justice Leak, J.D. Evermore, Charissa Allen, Robert X. Golphin, Gina Ravera, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Denzel Whitaker, John Heard, Devyn A. Tyler, Trenton McClain Boyd, Ritchie Montgomery, Jackson Walker, Tim Parati, Glen Powell, Donny Boaz, Marcus Lyle Brown…
Synopsis: Drama based on the true story of Mel Tolson, a professor of African American History at Wiley College in Texas, who in 1935 inspired his students to form the college’s first debate team, which would then face the University of Texas in the final. Harvard in the national championship.
Review: The Great Debaters is a very fine film. It reminds us of what it means to be excellent, to stand for something good, to love with all our hearts, and to shine.
The performances, or the cinematography, historical care, or directorship all lift it out of the ordinary.
And in its difficult subject: racial tension and the education and discovery of values by the three young debaters from Wiley College, one of the oldest colleges in America, it creates real excitement and interest.
But the real reason that this is a fine film lies in is its plea that in education lies the reasoning, the power, and the will to change history. That learning lies not just in knowledge but also in applying that knowledge to better yourself, your world, and all of humanity.
The very significant point of the film is at the end. I can forgive the slight drag here and there because the ending is magnificent and explains something crucial about American history by its finish.
From an era when bigotry, racism, and degrading behavior was a wretched norm to our era where values are mutable, where dumbing down has no limits, and taste little place; “The Great Debaters” stands out as being a story that stands against all of these things.