Just Mercy (2019)
January 7, 2020 6:40 PM - Subscribe

The powerful true story of Harvard-educated lawyer Bryan Stevenson, who goes to Alabama to defend the disenfranchised and wrongly condemned, including Walter McMillian, a man sentenced to death despite evidence proving his innocence. Bryan fights tirelessly for Walter with the system stacked against them.

Based on Stevenson’s book, starring Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx. (If you’re not familiar with his work, he’s a black lawyer who’s been running an organization providing defense services to capital defendants for the past few decades, a professor at NYU Law, and a MacArthur grant winner.)
posted by praemunire (6 comments total)
I enjoyed this movie, though some have dinged it for being too earnest or old-fashioned. Sometimes the morality of a situation is just not that complicated.
posted by praemunire at 9:54 PM on January 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Great acting, but the direction and writing was very much by the numbers compared to When They See Us and If Beale Street Could Talk.
posted by adrianhon at 3:12 AM on January 8, 2020

Worth mentioning as a tangent that Stevenson is also the driving force behind the Equal Justice Initiative, which itself was the driving force behind the achingly powerful National Lynching Memorial that recently opened in Montgomery, Alabama. The memorial and its associated museum are the most powerful civil rights history experience I've had in the USA.
posted by mediareport at 5:50 PM on January 8, 2020 [5 favorites]

I don't fault the predictability of Just Mercy, which had far less time to get the story across than When They See Us and had to stick pretty closely to the details out of respect, especially, for those who were executed. So is it predictable? Yes. Did it leave my (white except for me) audience in uncomfortable silence by the end? Also yes. I thought it was really powerful and I hope lots of people see it.
posted by TwoStride at 5:21 PM on January 11, 2020

Oh hey my dad was in this. I think white racist judge.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:49 AM on January 12, 2020

This is free to rent on Amazon right now!

It was... cathartic? to watch during the current wave of protests?

Not in the sense that I was hyper aware for every trauma the black characters experienced, because i saw them and they made me angry, driving home the culture of stress and trauma endured by these communities.

But after a day watching headline and news blips, keeping an eye on protest reports of what my friends see in their neighborhoods, it was good for my brain to put my phone down and spend 2 hours watching a “slow” movie that is mostly adults talking to each other. It was a shift in gears, but still on-topic.

No chase scenes, no gunfights, nothing that needs rapid fire editing or cinematography tricks to get your heart rate up. Just a true legal story and the racist shit that happened surrounding it.

I liked it a lot and will be urging my white friends to watch it this week.
posted by itesser at 12:39 AM on June 3, 2020

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