Saturday, January 5, 2008

WE FILM – The Great Debaters

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Melvin B. Tolson (played by Denzel Washington who directs the movie as well) is the real-life professor who formed the debate team that is comprised of some young actors that will have a long an illustrious career in the movie business if these performances are any indication. In addition to being a professor, Tolson was also a working man's advocate who, due to his ideologies, was accused of being a communist (one of the worst names to be called in those times). Forest Whitaker plays the role of Dr. James Farmer, a nationally-recognized scholar who regardless of his credentials, found his life threatened by white hog farmers who wouldn't get a question right on game show, "Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?"

Nominated for a Golden Globe for "Best Picture", THE GREAT DEBATERS is a fictionalized true story that the vast majority of us have never been taught in history class. It’s a real tale of the unlikely ten season unbeaten streak of the debate team at Wiley College (a small all-Black institution in Marshall, Texas) in 1935. Produced by Oprah Winfrey, I was under the impression that this would have been a typical, sappy and preachy movie. I couldn't have been more wrong. Instead, it is a story told with honesty, humour and raw emotion. Do you want the real talk? There was a point where I had to drink some sprite in order not to get all emotional in the movie theatre. Trust me; this will put a lump in your throat. Do yourself a favour and go see this movie. Don't get all cheap and pick up a bootleg at the flea market. This deserves your support in the theatre. When it comes to THE GREAT DEBATERS, I am in the affirmative.

Release Date: December 25th, 2007
Studio: Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM Studios)
Director: Melvin B. Tolson
Starring: Denzel Washington, Forest Whitaker, Nate Parker, Denzel Whitaker, Jermaine Williams, Gina Ravera, Jurnee Smollett, John Heard, Kimberley Elise
Genre: Drama
Rated: PG 13
Official Website:

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