One Night in Miami (2021) Review

A fantastic script and some amazing acting mean that this is one amazing film, released at a the most relevant time it could have been.

Certificate: 15

Director: Regina King

Screenwriter: Kemp Powers

Starring: Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge

Genre: Drama, History

Runtime: 114 Minutes

Language: English

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

Set on the night of February 25, 1964, “One Night in Miami” follows a young, brash Cassius Clay as he emerges from the Miami Beach Convention Centre the new Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World. Unable to stay on the island because of Jim Crow-era segregation laws – spends the evening at the Hampton House Motel in Miami’s African American neighbourhood celebrating with three of his closest friends: Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown. During this historic evening, shared their thoughts with each other about their responsibilities as influencers, standing up, defending their rights and moving the country forward to equality and empowerment for all black people. – From IMDB

I loved this a whole lot more than I thought I would.  Sometimes, movies that all take place in one place, and rely on characters can be a bit too much of a slow burn for me.  But this one has such an amazing cast, and such an engaging and well delivered script, that there is hardly a dull moment in the film.  If anything, the opening act, were we are just setting the scene and introducing our characters are is the slowest part.  Once all four of our main players get to the motel together, that’s when the ball really gets rolling.  And the amazing script can stretch it’s legs and we can hear some truly amazing monologues.

It is hard to pick out a stand-out performance in this film.  As all four of our leading men are pretty spectacular.  But Kingsley Ben-Adir as Malcom-X is a fantastic performance.  He has some of the best and most impactful monologues in the film, and he delivers them so so well.  But as I said, there isn’t a sub-par performance between them.  It’s the strength of these performances and of the fantastic writing that make this film, that is largely set in one room, electrifying to watch.  Every actor and therefore every character gets his time to shine, his big moment, a time when all the attention is on them.  So even if, like me, you know very little about the people involved other than their names, and maybe a little historical context, we spend enough time with them to get to know them all, learn about their struggles and their stances on the relevant issues.  Not an easy feat for a film with a relatively short runtime and an ensemble cast.  Normally at least one of them gets left to one side.

This film is inspiring, it’s fascinating, it’s a little heart-breaking, especially in terms of recent events in the US, but it is most certainly a must watch.  ‘One Night in Miami’ is free to stream now on Amazon Prime.

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