Marshall is a biographical drama directed by Reginald Hudlin and written by Michael and Jacob Koskoff and is based, in part, on the life of Thurgood Marshall – July 2, 1908 – January 24, 1993. His original name was Thoroughgood, but he shortened it to Thurgood. His father, William Marshall, worked as a railroad porter, and his mother Norma, as a teacher; they instilled in him an appreciation for the United States Constitution and the rule of law.
Thurgood Marshall (Chadwick Boseman), who was the first African-American to be appointed to the position of Supreme Court Justice served from October 1967 until October 1991. He not only was the 96th justice but was famous for successfully arguing 29 of 32 cases before the Supreme Court, including Brown v. Board of Education, which resulted in the outlaw of racial segregation in schools.
The film focuses on one of the first cases of Thurgood’s career as a lawyer, working for the NAACP. While Thurgood Marshall was not allowed to actually defend the case, (as ordered by The Judge – James Cromwell), he served as a non-speaking consultant, while Sam Friedman (Josh Gad), an insurance lawyer who teamed with Marshall, actually defended the accused in the State of Connecticut v. Joseph Spell (Sterling K. Brown). Eleanor Strubing (Kate Hudson) a rich, former model married to John Strubing (Jeremy Bobb), a successful advertising businessman accuses her chauffeur of rape and attempted murder for which he pleads not guilty. After listening to Spell’s story, the NAACP decided to back him and put Marshall on the case. Racism ran rampart throughout the trial. The reality that a Black man had his way with a White woman really showed in disgust on John Strubing’s face throughout the proceedings. The judge did all that he could in favor of the victim. This is a movie worth seeing, as it is well acted and a credit to the accomplishments of Thurgood Marshall. Below are 2 pictures of Thurgood taken in 1936, and 1967.
Marshall doesn’t depict Justice Marshall’s entire career and doesn’t highlight his best trials but does make the public aware of his brilliance and struggles along his legendary journey. I really enjoyed Marshall although I wished they explored more of his life. Check it out, there’s a lot here to learn.