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An Honest Review on David Oyelowo’s Tribute ‘Becoming King’

A review on David Oyelowo's journey to playing the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Ava DuVernay's 2014 drama “Selma.”
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The documentary “Becoming King,” available on Paramount+, chronicles actor David Oyelowo’s journey to portraying Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Ava DuVernay’s 2014 film “Selma.” Directed by Jessica Oyelowo, the film explores David Oyelowo’s background, from his childhood in Lagos, Nigeria, to his rise in Hollywood.

However, “Becoming King” falls short of expectations, feeling more like a tribute to Oyelowo than an in-depth look at the making of “Selma.” The documentary appears to be a response to Oyelowo’s Oscars snub, but it fails to make a compelling case.

The film includes home-video footage from the seven-year process of making “Selma,” showing Oyelowo’s personal moments and his preparation for the role. Interviews with figures like Oprah Winfrey and Lee Daniels add little depth, merely offering expected praises for Oyelowo.

Despite the film’s attempts to highlight the significance of “Selma” as a rare Hollywood feature about Dr. King, it fails to delve into the challenges of portraying such an iconic figure. Viewers are left wanting more insight into Oyelowo’s process and the complexities of portraying Dr. King as a human with flaws and complexities.

In the end, “Becoming King” suffers from a sense of self-importance that detracts from its subject matter, failing to truly honor either Dr. King or Oyelowo.

February 22, 2024

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