This film about the civil rights march that started in Selma, Ala., and eventually led to the 1965 Voting Rights Act is a heartbreaking but necessary reminder of how far the nation has yet to go. Just this midterm election, legislators everywhere passed voter ID laws that made it difficult for low-income Americans to cast their ballots. Unrest over the cases of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and others who died at the hands of police further shows cracks in race relations in the United States.
Oprah Winfrey, who produced and stars in Selma, said that current peaceful protests against police violence share an overarching message with the civil rights movement of the 1960s. “[The film] allows people to see that there was a strategy, there was a clear intention, and there was leadership,” she told Today. “They weren’t just marching in the streets, throwing things, and venting their anger.”