Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Great Debaters

Another successful foray into cinema for sgwordy - huzzah! The Great Debaters was inspired by the true story of the debate team at Wiley College in the 1930s. Their coach was Melvin B Tolson, an American poet, and they became famous for crossing racial lines by debating - and winning - against prestigious white schools.

I thought the movie was really well done. I give it a very high recommendation not only on its merits as a movie but as an introduction to an important part of American history. I say introduction because, like many other movies based on real events, the Great Debaters parts company from true history for inexplicable reasons. The essence of the story is there but for whatever reason the movie makers decided to make changes that I saw no need for. It's interesting to me when this happens because it's often something that seems to make very little difference. It would be just as interesting and easy to tell the true story but instead changes are made. Hollywood! I'll never understand it.

Regardless though, it's a movie worth seeing and a topic well worth researching. Also, I had not heard of Tolson before and I look forward to looking into his writing.

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