Movie Review: The Great Debaters

January 7, 2008 By:
Movie Review: The Great Debaters

Following up his 2002 directorial debut with "Antwone Fisher," Denzel Washington is in the Director seat once again for "The Great Debaters." I really enjoyed this film! It was very well written and the actors did an amazing job. The film is also nominated for the Best Motion Picture at the Golden Globes this year, which proves my point even further. Its amazing and world-renowned actors in the leading roles do not outshine the other performances like most Hollywood movies do. The other actors and the characters that they portray are just as crucial and convincing for the films entertaining premise. This film was perfectly put together, and that is why it is in the running for best picture of the year.

Based on a true story tale -immaculately written by Robert Eisele- is about Melvin B. Tolson (need no introduction, Denzel Washington), a professor at Wiley College Texas who in the year 1935 inspires -with a little convincing- his students to try out and form the school's first debate team. Although, some of the students at first do to not take the debate team concept seriously, they soon realize that Mr. Tolson is not joking around. On the first day of try outs, many of the students realize that one little slip of the tongue during deliberations can be the last chance they have of making it to the final four selected for the team. (In fear of SPOILERS, I will not mention the names of the 4 chosen). One of the four selected for the debate team, is son of the highly educated Dr. James Farmer, Sr. (Forest Whitaker, Oscar Winner for Best Actor last year in his portrayal of Idi Amin in, The Last King of Scotland) who is not too fond of Mr. Tolson's antics outside of school. As the debate team continues to win, some schools begin to fear competing against them. However, Mr. Tolson does not abandon his goal in not only being the first all "Negro" college to debate a white school, but also the chance in one day debating against the national champions... Harvard.

The debates were great. The debates amongst the students trying out for the team, prior to the actual debates, are even better. It is funny, emotional, heartfelt, earnest, and inspirational. Denzel and Forest do what they have done for quite some time now in the entertainment field. If I had to say so myself, I would mention that I believe these two actors are both at the top of their game. It is difficult to say such a thing after seeing both these awe-inspiring actors portray such wonderful characters throughout the years, but I mean, American Gangster and The Last King of Scotland! These two actors are in their prime ladies and gentlemen. I think it's time for us to all go to the movies, sit back, enjoy, and allow these two to do what they do best.

Pat the Movie Critic gives "The Great Debaters" --- 4 Scoops.