2020 Blind Spot Series: Malcolm X


What I knew going in: I had seen parts of it on TV before.

Spike Lee's sprawling epic follows the legendary activist Malcolm Little (Denzel Washington) from his gangster days, his prison sentence, and his eventual rebirth in the Nation of Islam before becoming what we know him as now - Malcolm X. 

I realize now why I probably never saw this all in one sitting. This movie is three and a half hours long. I must have known that at some point but when I went to start this film on Netflix it came as quite a surprise. 

To tell Malcolm X's entire story, I think the length is justified. There's just so much and you really can't leave out certain parts of it if you want the big picture. I think Spike Lee did a great job of containing everything and an amazing performance by Denzel Washington helped as well.

One of the things I always want from a biopic is a teaching moment. I liked that this film gave me a better understanding of his journey. In history, especially for me growing up in a small, predominantly white town, I feel like we were wrongly given broad strokes about various points during the Civil Rights movement, and Malcolm X fell into that category. 

I'm glad I finally sat down and finished this. I realized that I never saw any part of this film before he got out of prison. It was always afterwards that I'd catch it somewhere. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "I have to stand here today as what I was when I was born: a black man." - Malcolm X (Denzel Washington)

10 comments:

  1. I just watched this within the last year as well after decades of putting it off. The main reason (the length was also a consideration) for that is my general indifference to Denzel Washington but he is excellent in this. Often I find him dour and one note but it was obvious that he connected to Malcolm X and dug deep into himself. The film overall was much more compelling than I expected.

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    1. He was fantastic. I'm really glad I finally put in the time for this.

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  2. For me, this is one of the best films ever made as I'm glad someone like Spike Lee did this film and do it right while also giving Denzel Washington a career-defining performance. I had never heard of Malcolm X before this film came out and then I learned about him and this film got so much about him right.

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    1. I like when movies can help fill in the gaps for our education in history. I'm glad Spike got to make this movie a well.

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  3. Really solid movie. I went back and watched it again for a Denzel series I did was actually liked it more than I originally did.

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    1. I love it when we rediscover a film like that. It's always a nice feeling to appreciate something more the second time.

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  4. I haven't seen this either and really should! Sounds like it is well worth it. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  5. You lost me at three and a half hours... lol :D

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