329--Week 12 Questions/Comments

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1 Movie as secondary source about the past (What did it get right? What did it get wrong?)

a Right:

This movie got a lot of aspects of the 1950s South correct. For instance, the movie showed in the beginning Odessa's sons bringing home from school fliers about the bus boycott, and how Selma had to pay her bus fare, and then get off to go through the back door of the bus. ~Katherine Stinson~

As Dr. McClurken mentions, blacks had to pay in the front then get off only to get back on in the back of the bus. I believe that the filmmakers' choice to use that as part of the beginning scene sends a strong emotion through the audience, especially if they didn't know what was going on. -Lauren

The church has always played an integral role in the black community. I think the movie did a nice job of portraying black churches as the epicenters for the emotional and spiritual struggle through segregation. - Jason Ward

Dates and major events all happened at the right time, including the bombing of Dr. King's home. Through tear-fogged eyes, I was able to see that this was a heartbreakingly accurate depiction of a world where we referred to other human beings as dogs, and often worse names than that. The Citizen's Coalition seemed to be accurately depicted, down to the Confederate Flag as its logo. This wasn't an easy movie to get through, but that was the point. It wasn't an easy time to be black either. -Cash Nelson

I felt that the dissension within the groups was well depicted - Miriam and her husband disagreed on the issue, and the black family's daughter didn't get it either. I like that we could see all sides of the story through these two families. Blacks didn't all automatically think YEAH! Let's walk everywhere! It caught on through the meetings/rallies and some had to be convinced. And not all whites felt the same way about the situation either - and I also liked the progression that both Miriam and her husband went through - not affected, somewhat concerned, then taking action. Very powerful movie. - Elle

I found the depictions of the non-violent responses by the Montgomery black population to be very powerful. There is the scene where the middle son basically takes a whupping, resisting the urge to fight back, and the violent white mob at the end of the movie is met merely with song. Many civil rights leaders, like MLK, relied on non-violent resistance and this movie did well to exhibit the power inherent in non-violence.-Bryan Mull

I thought that the way the movie handled the black community's gender roles fairly well. Though in many cases it was the women out on the front lines protesting, earning, taking the long walks, in all the church scenes the authority figures were male.-Bryan Mull

Well it would be true that most of the leaders of black civil rights groups would be male although women played a very heavy role in the movement they were not given as much representation in leadership so I do not feel that was inaccurate. I also thought the bus scene at the beginning of the movie was particularly well done from an historic standpoint. I also felt this movie had a very good time progression you can see this especially as the actions of Whites against the boycott become progresively worse over the course of the movie. - Jonathan Bell

I was impressed with the overall accuracy, including the timing of events. I felt that the movie did a good job portraying what seemed to be accurate emotions and struggles of those involved. They did a good job showing gender roles in both the white and black communities, however, i felt that they should have showed more men involved in the bus boycott. It seemed that most of the male involvement was in the Church. -- Kellye Sorber

The movie was accurate with how white women would pick up their black maids for work when the boycott began Miriam shows this well with picking up Odessa at least two times a week for work. –Ashley Scutari

As many have said before me, this movie is strikingly accurate in its portrayal of the 1950s American south. The filmmakers made an excellent decision in portraying every character (except perhaps the vile brother-in-law) as three dimensional people with conflicted interests and complex motivations. I was particularly impressed by the handling of gender roles. Outside of the home, Miriam is unquestionably [perceived as] superior to Odessa. But within their own family spheres, Odessa has significantly more influence over her family than Miriam does over hers. Little details, like blacks having to pay at the front of the bus then board in the back or Miriam's being a member of the Junior League, add to the film's air of authenticity. - Sarah Richardson

One thing that really stuck out to me, and I know it's minor, but the characters even acknowledged how new MLK was to the scene. I think it was at the Christmas dinner when they mentioned how MLK had just gotten to Montgomery and although it's almost in passing, it shows that the filmmakers really did their research. -Kelly Wuyscik

The economic conditions of Odessa’s family were pretty right on. It was clear that they were living relatively comfortably as part of the postwar economic boom, but they were still tight on money. Odessa worked as a domestic servant, and she needed that work to support her family just like many other black women. --Taylor Brann

The handling of the boycott was done really well. Odessa didn’t outright say she was participating in the boycott (but rather that she was scared to ride the bus), and Miriam didn’t outright say she was driving Odessa and later the others around. Like in the readings, everyone was lying, and everyone knew about the lying, but no one called anyone out on it. They also showed the white drivers being harassed by the cops in order to break the boycott. Probably most importantly, the movie did a nice job getting across how huge the boycott was and just what it meant to the blacks. The sentiment that “my feet are tired, but my soul is rested” was very evident. --Taylor Brann

I thought the movie handled the characterizations of the “villains” really well. Yes, Norman and Tunker were racist jerks, but they had a great rapport with Mary Catherine. Norman naming streets after his “girls” and his explanation for it was really sweet, and he somewhat redeemed himself when he attacked Tunker for slapping his wife. I find that it’s really very hard to reconcile “good man” and “bigot.” I also liked when Miriam talked about the perpetuation of racism: you grow up with it, it’s part of your world, and you don’t really question it. Was she making excuses for Norman? Sure. But I also believe it’s easy to dismiss people like Norman as jerks without considering environmental factors. I remember seeing some footage of a White Power rally, and there were these women holding their babies as they watched crosses burning, and I thought, “These kids just don’t have a chance.” So, yes, I think Norman and especially Tunker are jerks, but I think they were also victims in a way. The movie did a pretty nice job mixing in a little of that. It didn’t say, “Racism is okay because it’s not your fault,” but rather, it gave a little examination about how racism continues to exist. --Taylor Brann

I missed the lecture on Tuesday so I wasn't actually aware of this but it demonstrates how disconnected, we or at least I, am with the time period depicted. At the beginning of the movie, when the two women go to through the front door to pay and then exit to go to the back door, I actual was confused and didn't know what was going on. Sad buy true. - Wesley Weeks

The young racist brother makes mention of the Klan, saying that they don't have to do any of the secret identity, robe-wearing, secret handshake, oath making, etc. stuff with their council meeting. But he is essentially comparing the intentions of each to one another. By the 1950s the Klan had lost significant support form its height of 3 million in the 1930s. It would not have been acceptable for a man like Mr. Thompson to join the Klan in 1956, however the violent actions these men take at the end of the film (while only the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement) might as well be acts of Klans men. Its hard to believe people were able to get away with this kind of thing when blacks were within their constitutional rights to do everything they were doing in protest. The gradually rising concerns of Mrs. Thompson, as a moderate, open-minded woman for her time, was believable. By looking at two fictional characters who played their roles within the civil rights movement along side countless other unnamed people, we can see how the full conversion of a privileged white person to the cause was a process that took a combination of time, initial open-mindedness, and motivation to actually participate. Mrs. Thompson, who is good-hearted but totally clueless at the beginning, becomes involved in the movement only because of the subtle clueing-in by her respected maid Odessa. I thought his was highly believable. The non-violent technique of Odessa's son when he was being beaten by the white boys is suggestive of the future SNCC protest techniques. The impact it had on the white boy beating the pacifist black boy showed how the technique was, to a degree, effective-- they could not claim defense or any other bull**** justification. However, in the case of evoking the aged stereotype of the "lazy negro" throughout the film by white folks about the blacks who were slaving over their dinners, cleaning their homes and doing it all on sore, bleeding feet from their "long walk," no one seemed to see the hypocrisy in their own statement. --Jackie Reed

I also found the scene where Mrs. Thompson stands up to her husband very compelling. She had the benefit of a college education but of course, as a woman of the era, didn't put it to use, and if she did all she could do was secretary work. The very suggestion of this to her husband though was extremely undermining to his role as the man of the house in the 1950s. The performance of it too, however, was wonderful. She mixed him a drink like a good little wife to show that she was willing to keep the norm to some extent, but she also did it to calm him before hand. Her nervousness at standing up to her husband like this, and of course in fear of causing a rift as it did, and her nerves showed. Likewise, Odessa displays two very contrasting personalities. At work and when confronted by a-hole cops, she is quiet and submissive, but at home she has as much word in her house as her husband, if not more. It is hard to watch her have to swallow her pride each day in order to keep her job or keep out of trouble. This was an excellent way to subtly express the urgent desire of southern blacks to change their world into one where they could live without fear in their public lives. --Jackie Reed

The Long Walk Home provides great insight into Montgomery’s 1955 bus boycotts. The Thompson family and Oddesa’s family represents the dichotomy of how completely different classes lived during racially troubled times, a notion well portrayed in the Christmas time scenes within the movie. The Thompson family provides accurate an accurate insight about the many opinions and views about African American boycotts. Miriam finds it in her heart to help with the protests; while on the other hand, her husband decides to work against them by joining a white supremacist group. The movie also does a good job at showing how women were at the forefront of the boycott movement. Miriam risks her reputation by supporting Odessa, but Odessa also risks her own by going against years of social norms..-James Drury

b Inaccurate/issues:

I found Miriam's revelation of the importance of Odessa and her desire to help out with the boycott more than slightly unlikely. True, Miriam has a good heart before her revelation, but the fact that she's willing to risk her safety and reputation to help out without too much thought is troubling. When I hear my older Southern relatives speak of blacks or watch their behavior around blacks, I hear the word "nigger" a few times or see them act differently around blacks. Old habits die hard. I don't doubt that some Southern white women did help, but that they were hesitant and a bit nervous in some layer of their being. Northern women would be more likely to be quicker to help than Southern white women. -Lauren

I am in no way doubting or disagreeing with your general interpretation Lauren, but I will say that according to the Rosa Parks and Virginia Durr reading from this week that it was likely for Southern women to help with the boycott. In that reading Durr said, "Then the policemen began giving tickets to the white women who were taking black women home."(225)Regardless of their motives, e.g. wanting their maids to be "fresh and alert" during work, or "I want my maid to be on time", Southern white women were helping with the boycott. As it pertains to the movie, although Miriam starts with the attitude of "I want you to be awake!", the directors give her a biography that explains her sympathy towards the boycotters. Miriam tells the story about traveling with her family to Portland in the 1930s and how the white children stayed in the pool even when the black boys had gotten in. What makes this story believable to me is that Miriam's character was given a broader array of experiences, but not a sanctimonious "I stayed in the pool" mentality. Miriam was definitely a take charge type, with a missionary's zeal, but her actions were sincere. - Jason Ward

Lauren, I didn't find what Miriam did to be very unlikely, as this was one opportunity for the caring housewives with no money of their own to make a difference for the blacks. I don't think Miriam rushed into it, although we didn't see much hesitation on her part during the film. First of all, she had always treated her maids well, although she also always knew her husband didn't agree with it. She knew from the start that her husband didn't approve of her even driving Odessa, and she stopped when he found out and made her do so. She didn't want to, but she did spend time thinking it over and finally determined that what her husband did was the final straw, the culmination of her long-held feelings that blacks deserved better treatment. By making up her mind she was rebelling against her husband and the whites' sense of right or wrong, and she was aware of what consequences might be if the blacks won--she was in support of them. -Whitney Holcomb

Where were all of the real characters from the Rosa Parks reading?- Jason Ward

I agree Jason, I wish they had showed more of the real people instead of just making up characters. -- Kellye Sorber

Wow, sorry if I sound redundant there, but apparently Jason and I were apparently writing that at exactly the same time! -Whitney

--Whitney, you reminded me of another point that I wanted to say. I was so happy when Miriam stood up to her husband on her right to drive Odessa to work and told him that if he insists on running her household, that she'll involve herself in his business. After all, she does have a college degree. That defiance wasn't surprising coming from her, but suddenly (thinking for what seemed like a day) she has a determination to get a job just so she can drive Odessa and have her own money. From what I can see, she never had a job before and she was wholly dependent on her husband for as long they've been married. I'm just questioning the likelihood that Miriam would change her career life dramatically. Helping with the boycott changes her and her family's life in any case, but going to work outside the home would impact her and her family even more directly. --Jason, I agree with you about her broad personality, but I viewed her as naive. She's had her husband take care of her for years and now she's taking large steps very quickly towards progression. Women in her place would have been more hesitant or taken smaller steps over a longer period of time, if they did anything. The behavior and views of Miriam's companions illustrate what many Southern women felt. With the time constraints on the movie, the filmmakers felt the need to speed the process of Miriam's change; but I felt it was too fast. Some Southern white women did help, like Virginia Durr; but she went to Wellesley College in Massachusetts. That experience in the North must've impacted her life in a positive way towards blacks (Source: http://www.wellesley.edu/Anniversary/durr.html). Unlike most Southern women, Virginia Durr had experience with black peers and got to understand them as more than inferior people who work for her. As far as I can see, Miriam has lived in the South all her life. -Lauren

The scene that I found most questionable was the end scene. Although I know Miriam decided to support the bus boycott I just find it unlikely that any women would go so far as to stand up to a mob especially when they had a daughter to worry about. I also found Miriam's change in atitude a little to sudden she never really talked heart to heart with Odessa before and after one conversation with her she suddenly becomes a fanatic to the cause even if she was sympathetic to the cause. - Jonathan Bell

I thought it was questionable that Miriam would make a police officer apologize for making racial remarks. Just another example of Miriam stepping up to the male power structure of the time. James D.

I found the character of Norman Thompson (the husband) intriguing, specifically his attitudes towards the Citizen's Council. At first, he seemed indifferent to the goals and values of the organization, but then he is influenced by his brother to regularly attend meetings as his views about blacks developed. Furthermore, when his wife found out he was going to these meetings and asked why, he responded at one point "it's either that or the KKK." In class, we discussed the uprising of the KKK again because of the bus boycotts. What I want to know is how whites viewed the KKK during this time. Did they undermine and de-value their purpose as Norman's comments implied? - David F.

When Odessa's daughter decides to ride the bus and the three white boys harass her would the bus driver really have stopped the bus and told them to get off. Telling them he would call the cops if they didn't and then telling them to never get on his bus again. Everything I have ever learned leads me to think that the bus driver would have asked Odessa's daughter to get off and let the boys alone. - Christine W.

I’m surprised the film didn’t add anything about Brown v. Board of Edu. That was a big accomplishment for the black communities and also occurred before the bus boycott. Also did they have any other bus boycotts besides in Montgomery, AL? –Ashley Scutari

I think it's a bit presumptuous to assume that an upper-middle class woman like Miriam wouldn't have supported the bus boycott by running carpool. Yes, racism was extremely prevalent in the south. Yes, her character risks a lot by doing so. But in all social movements like the Civil Rights movement, people risked their lives and reputations for what they believed in. If they--black and white--hadn't done so, the movement wouldn't have succeeded. I agree that Miriam isn't representative of the average woman of her stature at the time, but we can't say it wouldn't have happened. Just my two cents. - Sarah Richardson

To be honest, I can’t think of too much to complain about. It makes me wonder if I’m missing something, because that just seems so wrong. Oh woe, what kind of world do we live in when we can't find inaccuracies in a historical film? On the issues discussed above: The readings suggested that it was actually quite common for white women to drive their maids around. Now, I’m sure some of this had to do with convenience on the white women’s part, since they just really needed their maids, but there were also women like Virginia Durr who truly believed in the cause. I think Miriam represented both of these types. In the beginning she’s sympathetic, but she’s more interested in housework getting done. By the end, she’s a convert to the cause. Maybe it was a bit fast (we don’t really know how long passed in the movie), but it’s a fair representation. Also, while Miriam didn’t attend college in the North, she did give that little speech about growing up one way and then seeing more of the world, which she did a tad more than Norman did (that little trip with the ladies and the swimming hole). Also, I think she was quite dissatisfied with her life as a happy homemaker (à la The Feminine Mystique) and was looking for something more worthwhile to do with herself. --Taylor Brann

Every white man in this film is depicted as a racist who staunchly takes the side of the counter-boycott movement. The heroes of the film are clearly the women, but even here we see a diversity of views in black women but all white women besides Sissy Spasek are pretty firmly against any black rights. Perhaps this was very accurate for Montgomery, but I think the film may have over simplified its antagonists/villains. --Jackie Reed

2 Film's relationship to current scholarship or to primary sources from the time

This is an accuracy detail that I noticed: When Odessa and Miriam are driving in town and Miriam they notice the policeman closely following them, Odessa says to just slow down some and they should leave her alone, which is what happened. In Mrs. Durr's statements on page 224 she tells that police were cracking down on carpool drivers for going two miles over the speed limit. Odessa was very aware that this was what was happening, not just that the police wee being suspicious. -Whitney Holcomb

I really liked the Testimony of Thomas Williams. I felt the main idea of the testimony was to convey the de facto laws of the South, and how those laws were rooted in white supremacist tradition rather than American jurisprudence. It was the small but powerful phrase uttered by the bus driver that justified everything that happened to Williams and thousands of blacks in the Jim Crow era- "Your in the South now". Whites were able to get away with this behavior because they had the power to do so, and until the late 1950s no one made them do any differently. I think Williams exposed the crucial factor that would change life in the South- enforcement. "...Supreme Court decisions just are not enough. It is necessary to have a law to prevent them from doing these things." In the movie we see whites dominating and intimidating blacks because they could. The policemen were actively orchestrating that domination and intimidation. As was proven with the integration of schools in the decades to follow, enforcement of law would be the only way to ensure tangible change. - Jason Ward

This might be silly BUT... Why was there not even the slightest mention of the schools - Brown v. Board had already happened... how long did it take for the desegregation of schools to actually kick in? -Elle

If I remember from the readings correctly, the South continued with their segregation and Jim Crow laws even after Supreme Court decisions. Much of the unconstitutional decisions did go in effect in the South until the federal government forcibly made the South listen to those decisions. --Ashley Wilkins

Jason, I,too, found Thomas Williams' account to be truly profound. In particular, when he discusses his experience in the jail. He said that he was treated peacefully, which to be honest I was surprised because as we see in the movie and from our knowledge of history this is an extremely hostile time for African Americans. He further explains how one of the deputies tells him he should consider him self lucky for being treated so kindly (... yeah, OK) and not getting his "head beat in" and in all "fairness" that is what would have happened if a white person stepped outside their bounds. The Long Walk Home and Thomas Williams' account are both truly heartbreaking and it's sickening to know that a country who prides itself on democratic beliefs and equality for all citizens could have endured such an unfathomable period of history. --Mallory C.

I feel the movie does a good job at following the details given about the bus boycott in primary sources. The instances of the car speeding incidence and the attitude of the police was well shown in this movie by the scene where Odessa advices Miriam to drive slow because of tickets and the scene where Odessa is kicked out of the park by the police. - Jonathan Bell

The primary sources discuss the involvement of the NAACP in the bus boycott, how they organized everything. The movie did a great job of showing how big the movement was, how organized it was, and its impact on Burmingham, Alabama. Although the movie just focused on the bus boycott in the one town, I never got the impression of isolation. The scene where Odessa is in the car with Miriam, when she talks about the movement won't just stop at buses, how the fight will continue to other places, how they will even vote, eventually putting a African American in office, shows how important just this one battle was. And its true, the Civil Rights movement took baby steps to change America, first the schools, then the buses, then other areas of segregation, even though their eventual goal was to establish equality, they realized it was not going to be an overnight achievement - that every little battle counts. The movie shows this - how important every person was to the movement. ~Juliann

3 Movie as primary source about makers/time/setting/genre

I don't know if this happened on purpose, but Long Walk Home was nestled in a chronology of MAJOR movies being made about growing up in America as a member of the black community. Others were Do The Right Thing (1989), Boyz N The Hood (1991), Malcolm X (1992), and Menace II Society (1993). Anyone know if this was coincidence or not? -Cash Nelson

I really wonder what the experience was like for the black actors making this movie. So Whoopi only being born in 1955 would have not experience the bus boycott but would have experience other Civil Rights movements as a young child. Was it hard for these actors to portray these roles? I cant imagine having to relive that kind of experience. -- Kellye Sorber

In the 1990s, I think there was a big push to be politically correct, to acknowledge the struggles different minorities in this country have faced. During this decade, the government and society seemed to want to attempt to make up for the blatant racism that this country has shown minorities. In this movie, the bad guys are the ignorant Southerners, attempting to keep the status quo. The heroes are the characters like Odessa and Miriam, trying to push the envelope, in an attempt to improve society. This movie, with its powerful gospel music and emotional moments for the black community, paints a triumphant picture of blacks in America. ~Juliann Boyles

4 Public reaction/impact

By skimming through reviews on IMDB and going through Roger Ebert's website, the movie was generally well-received. It did not get nominated for any major awards, and I don't think it made the money a blockbuster film would have, but its major themes are ones that are going to resonate with future audiences. This film reminded me of Driving Miss Daisy because it focused on the relationship between one black person and one white person. None of the characters were monumental to the effect of Rosa Parks or MLK, but it did show how important every single person was to the progression towards racial equality. I thoroughly enjoyed this film and appreciate its message. - David F.

This movie was amazing. I thought it really communicated the inconceivable injustice of that time and place. Every time I see a movie that depicts the racism of this time, it is still almost unbelievable that those things ever happened, from slavery to segregation. Also, the makeup for the young man that was beaten up was incredibly evocative. Once again, I thought this movie was great. - Wesley Weeks

There have been a lot of comments in the Wiki about the emotional impact of this movie. At times, I got teary-eyed as well. But, I think this was completely intentional on the part of the filmmakers. The 1990s in many ways was about making America better. This can be seen in other films, where instead of shying away from the past, filmmakers embrace it (Look at Amistad for example). The reason these movies leave such a powerful impact is because filmmakers want the audience to sympathize with the struggle. The past is depicted in a very dramatic way, one I think that inspires Americans to struggle for change, for what's right, even if it means great personal sacrifice. ~Juliann Boyles

5 Other movies/questions of style/framing/storyline

The style of this movie was somewhat strange to me - the camera would focus on closer objects or people, or further objects and have the alternate distance one blurry. Also I remember a few rolling shots where it followed Miriam across the room, but she goes behind something and comes out on the other side. Another example - close up on the telephone. Strange to me, but artistic. - Elle

Did anyone have a problem with a movie about the Montgomery Bus Boycotts being told from a young affluent white girl's perspective? Was it just me, or did this movie seem to be a bit too focused on the evolution of Miriam into an activist, rather than the movement to organize a successful boycott? Granted, I still felt that this was a powerful depiction, I just thought that maybe the story of the black family should have been more clearly the "A" storyline.-Bryan Mull

I like this fact. I think that even though you did not get the full picture you were able to get a better understanding of the confusion of the time. The little girl didn't really understand what was going on so it give everything a naive sort of feel to a hard and difficult time. I think that by tell it though a young girl's perspective it allows the viewer to see the white perspective of what was going on, thereby allowing you to sympathize with the maid that raised the young child. -- Kellye Sorber

Also, I liked how they alluded to MLK without actually showing him. Is it just me or is there some unspoken Hollywood agreement that King will not be prominently depicted on screen? I was trying to think about this, and to my memory there aren't any movies where an actor portrays King. Why do you think this is the case? Is it because he was such an electrifying and dynamic person that no actor is comfortable risking their career depicting such an icon? Another thing I was wondering, how is it that there have not been any movies about the Freedom Rides (at least to my knowledge)? After reading James Farmer's autobiography Lay Bare the Heart last year I was struck at how compelling a narrative that the freedom rides would make for film. Certainly this would make for a better movie than Saw 38 or whatever number they are on.-Bryan Mull --Bryan, I have to say I agree, but unfortunately my answer is a bit cynical. Hollywood has, in addition to trying to re-define (read: stereotype!) gender roles, also fit racial roles into neat, little stereotypical boxes. Your cheeky inclusion of the Saw movies (they've greenlit Saw 8, by the way, even though only 5 have been made) is actually rather relevant, because no genre is more guilty of this than horror. After all, if any rule remains constant, it's that the black guy dies first. -Cash Nelson --The next point to make is that we have very few legendary black actors. Our most famous, Denzel Washington, has been typecast to an epic level. Man On Fire, Virtuosity, Out of Time and Inside Man are all the same movie, in a different setting, with different names. It's unfortunate, but as a culture, we are simply not ready to let our black actors shine the way we let our whites. -Cash Nelson --I agree with you Cash that the lack of prominent black actors is an issue. Denzel though to his credit has portrayed historic figures well (Malcolm X, Ruben Carter), but he obviously couldn't pull off a portrayal of MLK. And it isn't as though other black figures haven't been successfully portrayed: Forest Whitaker as Idi Amin and Charlie Parker, Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles (I feel like I heard that Don Cheadle is doing a Miles Davis biopic in the future). I guess I was more curious over whether the fact that King has yet to be definitively depicted on screen is more a function of the lack of black actors, or is there a fear of trying to do justice in a portrayal of one of the most compelling Americans ever? I mean who wouldn't go see a MLK biopic? -Bryan Mull''

The movie seems to hold back a bit on showing the actual violence going on. The movie implies the violence is bad by mentioning the church bombings, but the couple of scenes of actual violence in the movie are relevantly tame. There is clearly an attitude of fear in the movie about the situation, but we never really see the real reason for the fear as all the characters in the movie get off ok. - Jonathan Bell

I found the filmmaker's choice to have this movie from the daughter's perspective very interesting and very beneficial to its achievement of historical accuracy. At first, I couldn't help but chuckle at the fact that a young white girl was telling a story about one of the most influential movements in black civil rights history. But when you think about it, you couldn't get a more objective point of view. The daughter had no idea what was going on, she did not know the concept of race. She only sees the care and protectiveness from both her parents and Odessa. I think this made it easier for the audience to immerse themselves into the shoes of Odessa and other blacks during the bus boycotts, as well as Miriam, her husband, and especially her daughter. Furthermore, there are no biases attached to the daughter because of her attachment to her family and Odessa. - David F.

I liked how in the movie when Miriam drives by the carpool lot and is asking Odessa about it and Odessa explains how the carpool works. When Miriam says she wants to help because it is just about busing and Odessa explains that it is about more than just busing. She asks Miriam how will she feel when blacks are teaching in white schools or living in her neighborhood and tells her if she crosses that line she can't go back. The movie then cuts away to the next day. I think this helps give the sense that maybe whites who were helping didn't necessarily understand what they were becoming involved in and then when they did find out and what it would truly mean for them, they had doubts about it. - Christine W.

In response to Bryan's question about the narrator, although it kind of bothered me too I feel like it was a definite choice made by the filmmakers. Kellye touched on it best when she mentioned how it relayed the confusion of the time; kids were being raised into these types of households. They didn't really understand what was going on and to be a young girl especially in the situation she was in, must have been difficult. But I can definitely see the need to make the black family more central than they seemed to be. The storyline seemed to focus almost more around Miriam than Odessa to me. -Kelly Wuyscik

Bryan- There was a 1978 TV movie "King," in which Paul Winfield portrayed Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cicely Tyson portrayed Coretta Scott King. (Those two actors were in my project movie, Sounder.) And Cash- what about Denzel Washington in oh, say, Malcolm X? And Remember the Titans? -Whitney Holcomb

6 Overall

I thought this movie was kind of short, seeing how much there was to the whole bus boycotts, and Civil Rights Movements. However, I do think the movie was still good, and I was impressed with how much was fit into such a short movie. ~Katherine Stinson~

I cried. -Jason Ward

No, seriously, Jason did cry. -Kelly Wuyscik

I sobbed. On more than one occasion, and loudly. I still don't have words to really articulate the way I felt after this one, other than to say I think it's the best movie we've watched so far. -Cash Nelson

I got teary-eyed, too, at some point, although I can't remember where. Overall, I think this movie is an effective portrayal of this significant event in US history, since its details are often overlooked in classrooms. It gets across the personal effects of racism to these particular families and how they had tolerated it but would no longer. -Whitney Holcomb

I liked that they didn't try to portray the monumental people of this movement in the film - there was no rosa parks or MLK Jr, which, to me made it better. Overall, very good film. - Elle

I have a bit of interesting information that I wanted to share with everyone. I was reading up on the movie just to get some more background information and I read that one of the buses used in the film was actually the Montgomery Bus Lines bus that Rosa Parks was riding on when she was arrested. --Mallory Cruise

After some of the films we've watched this semester, and comparing it to the length of next week's film, this one was rather short. Not that I mind, it was nice to have a shorter film. --Ashley Wilkins

I was amazed that such a short film (only 97 minutes) could have such a tremendous impact. It was an incredible movie. -Kelly Wuyscik

I was amazed by this movie. I was very impressed with Merriam's role in the movement and how she stood up to her husband, I could really see a push for equality for women as well. There were definitely parts of the movie that almost made me cry. -- Kellye Sorber

I thought this movie was very well done. Yes it was short but I think it added to the movie in this case. There is no need to show the whole bus boycott. It would have made a really long really boring movie. It was just the right length to get involved with the boycott and subsequently the Civil Rights Movement that is growing and show how people were reacting without going overboard. - Christine W.

I agree with Elle, with the filmmaker’s view of leaving real characters out of the film. The movie felt real to me and definitely left me thinking afterwards on the trouble the black community went through with standing up for their rights. Though, I did enjoy the mixture of Martin Luther King speeches throughout the movie. –Ashley Scutari

Glad to know I wasn't the only one crying on Tuesday night in Chandler! This is definitely a tearjerker, although not of the Titanic variation. - Sarah Richardson

I really loved this film. I feel like I’ve said that about a fair number of the films we’ve seen, so I guess I’m just easy to please. One more movie to add to my DVD collection! While I didn’t quite cry (I’m just hard-hearted like that), it did leave me with that feeling in my gut like some movies do. It’s the sort of feeling that makes you want to get out and do something that can make a difference in the world. So yeah, inspirational. The acting is also fantastic. I completely and utterly love Sissy Spacek. In fact, the first thing I did after the movie was listen to Loretta Lynn (who I also love). The movie was also historically accurate. Essentially, The Long Walk Home is everything a historic film should be. Interesting, well acted, and accurate. And for those with short attention spans (so, basically most of America), it’s short.