Score: A

Rated PG-13 with a running time of 118 minutes


Josh Gad is a star of stage and screen. On Broadway: In 2006, he played William Barfee in THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE. And in 2011, he originated the role of Elder Cunningham in THE BOOK OF MORMON.

On Screen: Among his 23 films to date, he was the unforgettable voice of Olaf in FROZEN (2013); and played LeFou in Disney’s live-action BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (2017). In between — he has appeared on 28 different television shows between 2005 and 2017. He certainly is a very successful working actor.

If –THE BOOK OF MORMON and FROZEN did not elevate him to a super-star status, his role as attorney Sam Friedman in MARSHALL (2017) certainly will. Despite the movie title, it is Mr. Gad who steals this film as a Jewish insurance attorney. As an actor, Josh is a revelation. And so is everything about MARSHALL. It is rated a solid “A”.

Following in the footsteps of THE HELP (2011) and HIDDEN FIGURES (2016) , this is one of the most important film of the year to see. MARSHALL addresses Racial Discrimination, Anti-Semitism and Sexual Assault.

If you think that this is only a biography of the first African-American associate justice named to the United States Supreme Court, you would be mistaken. MARSHALL is a court-room drama. It is the story of an ambitious and young NAACP civil rights attorney, Thurgood Marshall. The case involves a black chauffeur (splendidly played by Sterling K. Brown) who stands accused of the rape and attempted murder of his white employer (Kate Hudson). Mr. Brown delivers one of the most emotional scenes in this film which resulted in the screening audience applauding with tears in their eyes.

Chadwick Boseman plays Marshall. Those of us who loved “42” with Chadwick playing the great Jackie Robinson, are looking forward to his playing the Black Panther in the upcoming Marvel film. He appeared in CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR. Other cast members include Dan Stevens, James Cromwell, Keesha Sharp and Roger Guenveur Smith. Collectively, they are an “A” cast!

The film’s old-fashion atmosphere with subdued colors and 1940’s jazz music, is directed by Reginald Hudlin. Mr. Hudlin is an American film writer, director and producer. He is a past president of BET (Black Entertainment Television) and co-produced the 88th Annual Academy Awards. His direction is flawless.

The tight script is from Jacob Koskoff and Michael Koskoff. The cinematography is under the direction of Newton Thomas Siegel. And the music is the creation of American jazz composer Marcus Miller.

When you watch the trial unfold, remember that twelve years later Marshall will challenge segregation’s “separate but equal” premise in Brown v. Board of Education. The NAACP spent a lot of time in the Southern states in order to defend people falsely accused of a crime because of their color.

This film received very strong applause as the end credits began to roll. I sat in my seat and watched the audience slowly passed me by. Some had tears in their eyes. Sadly, far too many were shaking their head, fearful that despite the passage of 77 years, today we have not yet climbed the mountaintop that Dr. Martin Luther King had dreamed of.


Following the screening, there was a rumor being talked about. “Bob, do you remember towards the end of the movie, when Marshall has been sent to Mississippi to defend a 14-year old boy accused of being a cop killer? At the train station, he’s greeted by three people: the boy’s parents and their attorney!”

I went to Buzz Feed and read an article from news reporter Jarett Wieselman. Her article documented the rumor. Reginald Hudlin arranged for Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin — Trayvon Martin’s parents, to be in the final scene. The attorney who played the civil rights icon, Z. Alexander Looby — was played by Benjamin Crump, an attorney who actually had represented Trayvon Martin’s family.

According to Buzz Feed and Jarett Wieseman’s article, “Josh Gad noted, their involvement served to underscore the fight Thurgood Martial began more than 80 years ago persists to this day. The fight continues!”


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