This was my second time watching the movie called “The Great debaters,” but it seemed like it was my first time since the emotional scenes and the profound aspect of the movie left me amazed and inspired once more. All the characters in the movie had their own moment to shine which makes the movie even greater and while watching, you always wonder what is coming next.
The character I identify with the most is Melvin Tolson, the teacher who assembled his debate team members tactfully and thoroughly. It is certainly not because the character is played by a tremendous actor, the two-time academy award winner, Denzel Washington; it is because Tolson, the character played by Washington, not only recruited these talented young speakers, but he found ways to inspire and energized them to greatness, even to what appears to be impossible to achieve. I believe that is what teaching should be about. Furthermore, the focus of this character on education as an important tool for freedom cannot let you without thinking that school has to be more than passing classes or grading, but a powerful weapon in the hands of whoever possesses it.
The second character that attracted my admiration as a speaker in the movie is Samantha Booke. As blacks were being mistreated and persecuted just for being black, this reality was even worse for black women in Texas. But this fact did not stop Samantha to believe in herself and her ability to be part this debate team. She will be the first woman to be in the Wiley college debate team and when given the chance to debate, she is not shy, but demonstrated a lot of emotions in her speeches, bravery, confidence, and passion.
As I said in my first paragraph, I believe every character in the movie has their moment to show their talents as a speaker. Henry Lowe, played by Nate Parker, performed gracefully in his first debate against. He is very persuasive in his speech, confident, well-prepared, and knowledgeable. He also has a great voice tone. He shows a great deal of energy in his speeches, and that energy and confidence are what I think I would like to possess as a speaker.
The only character I think at first showed some lacks is James Farmer, Jr. although he is the one who will help them win at the end, but at the beginning of his presentations he showed a lack of bravery and confidence. He is very talented and knowledgeable as a speaker, except that, at first, his lack of experience in public speaking will cause the team to lose. I understand that being brave has nothing to do with being capable or talented, but it is the courage to do what you have to do despite the fear and the lack of talents. I believe I possess this quality as a speaker which allows me to overcome my fear of public speaking every time I stand up to speak.
The movie is very inspiring and emotionally moving, besides all of these, what stroked me the most about the debate team is their willingness to research and to prepare themselves before their performance. I believe nothing can replace preparation. I have experienced the lack of it in some of my own presentations and paid the price for it. In the movie, I think they had James Farmer Jr. do all the research for them which is a very important part of a speaker’s presentation. A speaker needs to have his fact straight, and the Wiley college debate team knew that and did just that.
“The Great debaters” movie is so educational that watching it made me feel like I have been in a classroom session. Although I actually was! The movie inspired me to do my best to be a better speaker, to take time to research my topics and prepare myself before my presentation. The movie taught me the importance of words and that you can win over darkness or anything with the power of your words. I particularly liked the scene where James Famer, Sr. convinced Sheriff Dozier to release Tolson. He actually said those words: “an unjust law is no law at all.” This scene convinced me that I have to learn to make proper use of my words because certain battle can only be won by words.
Courtney from Study Moose
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