This is a story that needs to be told. The majority of us don’t know enough about this time in history (1961 in the US deep south). And, based on some of the rhetoric offered during our recent midterm elections, I don’t know that things have really changed all that much.
I like the idea of an exploration of Don Shirley’s life, a brilliant gay musician who broke ground throughout his career. The Don Shirley trio did some amazing work playing with many old themes in modern ways. Check out The Water Boy.
I will say that the opening of this film felt clunky to me and I can’t help but think that they started the movie in the wrong place. Instead of giving us a scene at a moment of change, we get 20 minutes of set up and character building. It might have been nice to jumble things up a bit and get us faster into the action with a bit of flashback to fill in the backstory. And, there was only a little scene related to Shirley’s homosexuality–that’s an important piece of the story telling of this great man’s life, but it gets basically skimmed over.