Marshall gives us an in depth look at one of the cases the great Thurgood Marshall tried. Chadwick Boseman plays Thurgood Marshall and though his performance was good, it is Josh Gad playing the role of his assistant Sam Friedman that runs away with the script. There are a lot of strong performances in this film. Kate Hudson plays Eleanor Strubing, a White woman noted for telling the truth, who accuses a Black male Joseph Spell, a compulsive liar played by Sterling Brown, of raping her.
The chemistry between the confident Marshall and the nerdy Friedman holds this film together. Friedman is tasked with getting Marshall the permission to practice law in Connecticut.
The film is set in the 1940’s in the midst of racial tension. When the White judge refuses to give Marshall the permission to defend his client, Marshall must find a way to get Friedman, who is an Insurance Lawyer, to defend the case by following his written instructions.
Marshall goes from city to city working for the NAACP representing clients who they believed were wrongfully accused of crimes. Friedman on the other hand, is Jewish and he is aware that being involved in the case can destroy his career. This is well written script and the director does a great job of showing us the parallel challenges both Marshall and Friedman are going through.
The movie also finds subtle ways to show us how Race played out in those times. We have men with guns and fist willing to take matters in their own hands. We have lawyers willing to offer a deal rather than lose a case. There is a significant scene in the film where Friedman uses a glass of clear water and squeezes a tube of ink slowly into it to show how contaminated the case is. There is a lot that can be read from this incident as it relates to the fear of racial contamination.
Marshall is a film worth seeing, but I think it should have been titled differently, may be “Marshall and His Rookie.” Thurgood Marshall with his victory of “Brown vs Board” and his nomination to the Supreme Courts has too much of a rich history to have a film that shows a snippet of his life achievements named after him. The film runs for 1 hr and 58 min and it is fast paced and enjoyable. If you see “Marshall,” be sure to wait till he end of the credits. I highly recommend this movie.