Regina King’s Directorial Debut Is One of the Best Movies on Amazon Prime Right Now
Maybe it's just me, but whenever I think of historical icons, I tend to stay fixated on their legacy and public image. For example, I can easily envision the great Malcolm X standing at a podium to speak out against racism. I can also see the charismatic Muhammad Ali fighting his way to victory (or shall I say "stinging like a bee") during a boxing match. But as for how these greats carried themselves behind closed doors? Well, that thought never really occurred to me. That is, until I saw Regina King's One Night In Miami on Amazon Prime.
To offer some background, the drama film follows a fictionalized gathering of four real-life icons in 1963, including Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali (Eli Goree), Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.) and Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge). After Clay defeats Sonny Liston (Aaron D. Alexander) and becomes the new heavyweight champion, he invites his three friends to celebrate the victory—although things take a rather interesting turn as the night progresses.
Not only has the film received three Golden Globes nominations, but it also boasts an impressive 98 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes. This comes as no surprise, seeing as how it features solid acting, thought-provoking dialogue and a message that's still relevant today. Read on to see why One Night in Miami is easily one of the best films of the year.
1. We get a more intimate look at these famous men
History has done an amazing job of highlighting the contributions of these four icons. But while it's crucial to remember their positive impact, I feel like it's caused a lot of us to paint them as near-infallible heroes, which makes it easy to forget that they were, well, human.
This is why I found it so refreshing to see these characters in this new context, without the added pressure of the spotlight. This time, they were free to be vulnerable, whether that meant opening up about their biggest fears or engaging in tough debates over a tub of ice cream.
2. 'One Night in Miami' did a great job of highlighting the group's common goal
In the film, what starts off as a festive occasion quickly turns into a night full of intense moments—but this isn't to say that these men are not on the same team. From the very beginning, it's clear that they all share a common goal: to continue the fight for equality by using their talents. Tensions rise, however, when each of them considers how to go about fighting for change with the time and resources they have. It's fascinating to see them address this question throughout the film, but more importantly, it's encouraging to see their unwavering support for each other, even despite their different views.
3. The performances are nothing short of brilliant
I could say that the main cast all give stellar performances, but guys, even that doesn't seem to fully capture how amazing they are. Goree, Ben-Adir, Odom and Hodge all embodied their characters so well (down to the smallest mannerisms) that I felt like I was watching real history unfold. Had these famous figures actually met up IRL, I imagine that their time together wouldn't have been much different from what was portrayed in the movie.
4. The discussions are powerful and very relevant
As the four men bond, there are several light moments that involve joking and banter, but still, at the heart of their discussions is a shared desire for true freedom. Each man is well-aware of his fame and influence, which suggests that there's already been significant progress for Black people. But even so, there's still some inner turmoil and a heavy burden for their struggling community. There's still a genuine desire to do something, and I'd say that many people in the Black community can relate to this feeling today. Even with progress that we've all seen so far, we're reminded that there's still work to do.
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