Despite the accolades that Selma has received—Golden Globe nominations, Critics’ Choice nominations, the list goes on—some are criticizing the film and its director, Ava DuVernay, for what they are calling “historical inaccuracies.”
Scholars say that Selma paints President Lyndon B. Johnson in a negative light, portraying him as a pushover. The film, which tells the story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s monumental voting rights march to Montgomery, Ala., suggests that LBJ had to be emphatically persuaded by Dr. King to pass the Voting Rights Act, something that historians are saying simply isn’t true. Some are even going so far as to say that’s the reason Selma was snubbed at Sunday’s Golden Globes.
However, Gil Robertson IV, president of the African American Film Critics Association, feels that those critiques should not discourage people from seeing the movie.
“To call into question every frame of a film that doesn’t claim to be a documentary is short-sighted and fails to see the bigger potential that exist for a film like Selma, which has the potential to finally spawn real dialogue about race and race-relations in America,” Robertson said in a statement. “I believe that Selma should not be weighed down by such claims or expectations, but rather taken as a cinematic experience that centers on issues and circumstances of the past that remain real and very present today.”