When I started talking about this movie, I was surprised how many people did not know who Thurgood Marshall was. He was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, serving from October 1967 until October 1991. Marshall was the Court’s 96th justice and its first African-American justice.
“Marshall” is about how a young Thurgood Marshall faces one of his greatest challenges in 1941 while working as a lawyer for the NAACP. Marshall travels to conservative Connecticut to defend Joseph Spell when wealthy socialite Eleanor Strubing accuses black chauffeur Spell of rape in the case Connecticut vs. Joseph Spell.
Chadwick Boseman stars as Thurgood Marshall. Josh Gad plays Sam Friedman, a young lawyer with no experience in criminal law. Academy Award Nominee Kate Hudson is Eleanor Strubing. St. Louis native Sterling K. Brown is Joseph Spell. Brown currently stars in the television program “This is Us.” Dan Stevens of “Downton Abbey” fame is prosecutor Loren Willis. Academy Award nominee James Cromwell is Judge Foster.
“Marshall” is so well acted by the entire cast, but Boseman should be nominated for an Academy Award. His portrayal of Marshall is perfect. Gad who is known for voicing Olaf in”Frozen” and playing Elder Arnold Cunningham in the Broadway musical “The Book of Mormon” is outstanding as Sam Friedman. I will not be surprised if he is nominated for a supporting Academy Award.
“Marshall” was directed by Academy Award Nominee Reginald Hudling, a Centerville, IL native. Hudling also directed “Django Unchained” and “House Party.”
The screenplay was written by Jacob Koskoff and Michael Koskoff. The writing is excellent. Instead of trying to cover Marshall’s entire career, the writers chose one case in 1941. Connecticut vs. Joseph Spell is not even one of Marshall’s most famous cases, but it does underline his skill as a lawyer. Through the case, the writers focus on the relationship between Marshall and Sam Friedman and the overt racism that existed in American courts in the 1940’s.
The clothes really help take us back to the 1940’s. Eleanor Strubing’s outfits are marvelous. As I watched, I forgot how awful men’s ties were in the ‘40’s. They have come a long way.
This is one of my top five movies of the year. If it were up to me, the movie, the director, the writers, Boseman, Gad, and the costume designer would all be up for Academy Awards. This is a movie that everyone should see, but not everyone will like because it is a drama without car chases, gun fights and other special effects that seem to grace the hit movies of today.
“Marshall” will open this weekend at AMC Showplace Edwardsville 12 and Granite City Cinema. Don’t miss it.