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The Great Debaters Review

The Great Debaters

This is a movie that came to me when I was a bit disoriented and frustrated in life. In recent days, I started to reflect on my current lifestyle, and I felt a sense of crisis because I realized that I spent most of my free time on computer. I realize I am gradually losing the intimate and passionate connection that I once had with words and writings. I contemplated on how to maintain a balance in my life, and attempted to put it in action, but the outcome has been nothing but failure. In addition, I noticed the apathy that has grown in me. No matter that I read and see, I am apathetic about everything in life, nothing moved me, nothing touched my heart, nothing could break open the iron wall which surrounded my entire being. Life has become monotonous and robotic. Under this circumstance, I received The Great Debaters from my Netflix delivery, and I am glad I watched this film.

We do what we have to do in order to do what we want to do.

The movie is based on a true story, therefore many characters in the film are real historical figures. Through this film, I am introduced to many notable literary figures during the Harlem Renaissance: Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Countee Cullen, Gwendolyn Bennett, etc. The main characters in the film are also real historical scholars, for instance, Melvin Tolson and James Farmer. I am aspired by many quotes in the film, these words led me to re-discover the amazing power of words and the importance of language. Furthermore, they helped me recall my initial love and passion for reading and writing.

The Great Debaters Trailer

The cast in this movie is filled with talented veteran and new actors. Both Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker did an excellent job, and the new actors portraying the members of the debate team were also exceptional. I can really feel that each of them identified with the character, and poured their true feelings and emotions into each role. I love the scenes of the debates. I love how they delivered their arguments and rebuttals with emotion and eloquence. Their courage and persistence really moved me and aspired me. This is a great motivational film. I thank this film for touching my heart and reinvigorate my passion for words, furthermore to believe in yourself and face the fear and struggle in life with courage and hard-working, because in the end God decides who wins or loses, not my opponent. My opponent does not exist, because he is a mere dissenting voice of the truth I speak!

Finally, let me finish this review with my favorite speech in the film.

In Texas they lynch Negroes. My teammates and I saw a man strung up by his neck and set on fire. We drove through a lynch mob, pressed our faces against the floorboard. I looked at my teammates. I saw the fear in their eyes and, worse, the shame. What was this Negro’s crime that he should be hung without trial in a dark forest filled with fog. Was he a thief? Was he a killer? Or just a Negro? Was he a sharecropper? A preacher? Were his children waiting up for him? And who are we to just lie there and do nothing. No matter what he did, the mob was the criminal. But the law did nothing. Just left us wondering, “Why?” My opponent says nothing that erodes the rule of law can be moral. But there is no rule of law in the Jim Crow south. Not when Negroes are denied housing. Turned away from schools, hospitals. And not when we are lynched. St Augustine said, “An unjust law in no law at all.’ Which means I have a right, even a duty to resist. With violence or civil disobedience. You should pray I choose the latter.

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