A fictional account where civil rights icons Malcolm X, Cassius Clay,
Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown meet to discuss their roles in the movement.
One Night in Miami (2021)
Directed by Regina King
Written by Kemp Powers
Starring Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom Jr., Lance Reddick, Christian Magby, Joaquina Kalukango
Based on the stage play by Kemp Powers
Oscar Nominations - Best Supporting Actor (Leslie Odom Jr.),
Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Song (Speak Now)
One Night in Miami had such an intriguing concept, and I'm very glad to say it was not wasted. The idea of Malcolm X, Cassius Clay, Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown meeting to talk about their influence in the Civil Rights Movement is cinematically tantalizing to say the least. Add to that a flawless screenplay and an impeccable first-time directing gig for Regina King and you've got a drama that's worth talking about. These are four of the most influential men of the 20th century, and they all left a significant mark on history. Jim Brown is the only one of the four still alive today, with Malcolm and Sam senselessly gunned down in the 60's and Ali passing away just five years ago.
All four actors portraying our principles do a fantastic job, but the biggest standout for me was Kingsley Ben-Adir as Malcolm X. While Leslie Odom Jr., Eli Goree, and Aldis Hodge are amazing too, knowing Ben-Adir is a Brit adds an impressive layer of exceptionalism to his performance. It's a simple enough premise. All four of these men knew each other as friends, and this is a story of a night they might've had in a Miami motel room, discussing the Civil Rights Movement and what it means to each of them. Things get heated, tempers flare, and some revelations come to light, not just about the movement but about themselves.
With One Night in Miami, Regina King adds another impressive talent to her repertoire, cementing herself as a director to look out for in the future. With this film and Soul, screenwriter Kemp Powers is looking like a tour-de-force to be reckoned with. This film is a genius historical "what if?" that raises so many interesting ideas and questions. I think it's one to look out for at the 2021 Oscars, provided we actually get one.