Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Take 41: Just Mercy

Tuesday: My "take" on a film.

Just Mercy (2019)

Every generation has its hero. Meet ours.

(Based on a true story, and currently streaming free of charge through FandangoNow and Amazon Prime.)

I read the book in February (Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson) and pondered on it for weeks after. Then, with the issues of race and justice currently raging across our nation, I felt a pull to watch the movie, too.

Bryan Stevenson is a lawyer from Delaware who founded the Equal Justice Initiative (a nonprofit law office in Montgomery, Alabama) and has "dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated, and the condemned."*

The film mainly focuses on the case of Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx), a man unfairly tried and convicted for a crime he didn't commit. In fact, he was put on death row even before his trial, and had been in prison for six years by the time he meets Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan).

When Bryan first interviews him as a potential client, Walter has very little (if any) hope that the efforts of this young lawyer will make a difference. He underestimates Bryan's tenacity and drive.

The injustices and lies uncovered regarding Walter's original trial are maddening! We are all children of God, and it breaks my heart to see such blatant disregard of human rights. It's not an easy film to watch, at times, but so worth it.

I love what Bryan tells the US Senate during a hearing on the Death Penalty:
Through this work, I've learned that each of us is more than the worst thing we've ever done; that the opposite of poverty isn't wealth, the opposite of poverty is justice; that the character of our nation isn't reflected on how we treat the rich and the privileged, but how we treat the poor, the disfavored, and condemned.
Well-said, Mr. Stevenson, well-said.

Notes on Content:
  • No sex and no full nudity. A man is stripped searched, and shown bare from the waist up.
  • Threats at gunpoint, fistfights. A prisoner is placed in the electric chair and prepared for execution... his death is not fully shown on screen, but the intensity is there.
  • Language includes racial slurs, derogatory remarks, and some mild swearing (no f-words).


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