1. “The Dream Act.” Wesley Morris on Selma.
“There’s a strategy in that sequence of shots. We watch Selma aware that King’s assassination is looming. So, in the movie, is he. That shadow is what intensifies the film’s heaviness, the responsibility King feels for the people walking with him. That’s what turns him back on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, his heeding of the awareness that the limits of nonviolence are defined by the violent. Nonviolence can’t stop man’s uglier nature, his fear of change or whatever it is that makes him shoot and whip and beat unarmed activists. In fact, if nonviolence is effective, it will provoke such ugly retaliation. In that moment, God seemed to speak to King and say, Turn back. That red carpet in the church afterward is so striking because it’s an acknowledgment of all the deaths for this cause, and of the dying left to do. The bloodshed of his followers—of every race—is a source of his sadness and guilt. He can’t save them from pain. He can only lead them into it, into slaughter. But all there is to do about that is keep marching.”