Resurrected Living
"What are you going to do with your new resurrected life? This is the heroic question." Richard Rohr



Marshall is the true story of Thurgood Marshall, a NAACP attorney who would later become the first African American justice of the Supreme Court. Marshall focuses on Thurgood’s early life and one case in particular. At the time Thurgood Marshall traveled all over the United States defending clients of color who had been falsely accused of a crime. The film hones in on a particular trial in Connecticut, and it quickly becomes apparent that racism is not a problem unique to the south.

Director Reginald Hudson assembled a stellar cast of actors. The chemistry between Chadwick Boseman who plays Thurgood Marshall and Josh Gad who plays Sam Friedman drives the movie. Marshall and Friedman are a real-life odd couple. One an African American defense attorney who is used to seeing his name in the paper, and the other a Jewish attorney who tries civil cases and enjoys swimming alone. Although they have little in common, Friedman and Marshall are forced to work together to try and save the life of Joseph Spell (Sterling K. Brown) who has been accused of rape by Eleanor Strubing (Kate Hudson).

Marshall is about race in America and the injustices that people of color have faced for many years. It is an important reminder of our past and a call for us to continue to fight injustice as we work towards racial reconciliation. Although it is a film set in the past, most viewers will be reminded of the current racial tension in America. Thurgood devoted his life to helping people who were being oppressed because of the color of their skin. Great strides have been made since the time Mr. Marshall was an attorney for the NAACP, but we would be naive to believe that we have arrived. There is still much work to be done.

Marshall is a solid drama well worth your time. If there are any negatives, it is that the film follows the familiar pattern of other courtroom dramas and recent movies dealing with race. The ending is predictable, and yet it is the ending that most people want to see. One word of caution would be that there were many cases like Joseph Spell’s that did not have a happy ending. Countless innocent black men were convicted and hanged simply because they were accused by a white person of doing something wrong. There is nothing wrong with leaving a film feeling good on the inside, but I would hope that we would remember there was only one Thurgood Marshall and there were many cases he was unable to accept. We should be greatly appreciative of the work of Thurgood Marshall, but we should also all be devastated by the fact that innocent men were imprisoned and put to death just because of the color of their skin.

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