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The Great Debaters

Release Date: December 25, 2007


Movie of the Day for Thursday, November 22, 2007
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Denzel Washington has become one of the most reliable performers in the business when it comes to his films. Recently, his starring turn in American Gangster helped propel it to a $43.6 million opening weekend. His next project is The Great Debaters - and he directs in addition to starring.

This is Washington's second go-round behind the camera. His first directorial project was Antwone Fisher, which starred Derek Luke and wound up making only $21 million total. The Great Debaters is similar in tone and quality. Will it ride the wave of Washington's latest successes or will it be viewed as a smaller, more intimate project?

The film is set in the Jim Crow south and tells the story of an unusual coach who helps students use words to achieve victory. He actually coaches debate, and works with a group of underdogs from a black East Texas college to help them become the best of the best. Given the time frame, one can only imagine the barriers that would have to be broken in order for these students to move in this world. Eventually, the group is invited to Harvard for a major competition.

The film bears some similarity to Pride, the Terrence Howard swimming movie that was released early in 2007 in that it covers African Americans in their efforts to break into society that previously did not accept them. The Great Debaters boasts two Academy Award winners in Washington and Forest Whitaker, and promises to provide some uplifting fare during the holiday season. (Kim Hollis/BOP)


Vital statistics for The Great Debaters
Main Cast Denzel Washington, Forest Whitaker, Jurnee Smollett
Supporting Cast Denzel Whitaker, Kimberly Elise, Nate Parker
Director Denzel Washington
Screenwriter Robert Eisele
Distributor Miramax
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture


     


 
 

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