Film Rustin 2023
The film Rustin by George C. Wolfe offers a fresh take on the historic March on Washington in 1963. While the historic occasion properly invokes thoughts of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, “Rustin” records one of the important players behind the march’s creation, Bayard Rustin, portrayed below by Colman Domingo.
In addition to facing racism and sexism because of his race and sexual orientation, Rustin nevertheless had to deal with hostility from inside his own group. A tribute to its namesake, “Rustin” also intends to teach audiences about the grassroots action that helped cement one of the United States’ proudest moments in history.
The start of “Rustin” begins with a remark about the unlawfulness of separation and then cuts slowly to scenes from recognizable points in the movement’s history: Examples include Ruby Bridges, who was the initial Black learner to attend a Louisiana public school after it was integrated in 1960, Elizabeth Eckford, who was verbally abused by classmates on her journey to class within 1957, and Anne Moody, who remained calm during an occupation at an a meal in 1963 despite protesters throwing food at her.
This slightly overdramatic montage was inserted to show that racism existed even before laws were passed. And if these historic events are crucial, their formulaic presence is equally at the surface is the remainder of Wolfe’s picture.
While “Rustin” sometimes falls into the trap of presenting clichés as discourse, it fares much better when it chronicles the events building up to the walk and presents its hero in his whole. Domingo, who worked with Wolfe in 2020’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” is fantastic in the role of Rustin. He has great charm, can be tough when necessary, and is quite bright.
Domingo does an excellent job at conveying the wit of the writing, which was written by Dustin Lance Black and Julian Breece. A few of the most poignant moments are interspersed with humorous ones, but the jokes ultimately overshadow the more serious ones. The film’s melancholy fails to land where its comedy does.
The plot focuses on Rustin’s connection with Martin Luther King Jr. (Aml Ameen) and his on-again, off-again romance with a youthful activist named Tom (Gus Halper). The two guys complement Domingo well and provide the film with a sophisticated central performance. Another important connection in Rustin’s development as a person is his blossoming infatuation to Elias Taylor (Johnny Ramey), a fictitious minister on the NAACP board.
In this biography, Rustin is shown not just as an activist, evaluated exclusively on the basis of the bullet points on his CV, but also as a sensitive friend, damaged soul, and charming scoundrel. It also often verges on melodrama by careening from one thing to the next on the script’s blueprint.
As “Rustin” describes the challenges of getting 100,000 Black people to the Lincoln Memorial for the biggest peaceful demonstration in the movement’s the past, we get a bird’s-eye view of the numbers and circumstances involved. From the NAACP’s first dismissal of the notion (with Chris Rock as Roy Wilkins, the Executive Secretary) through the immoveable confidence and backing that.
A. Philip Randolph (Glynn Turman) placed in Rustin, Wolfe’s film is the chronicle of a war. Together, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Student Civil Liberties Union (SCLC), and early Malcolm X supporters (the Black Panther Party wasn’t created until 1966) fought against not just other groups but also different strategies inside the movement.
The biopic “Rustin” was probably created out of awe for its namesake. In spite of this, the film seems more like a dry instructional plan than a lively drama due to its boring approach to its storyline and muddled narrative goals. While attention was made to convey complexity to Rustin himself in the future, the setting is largely untouched. Rhetorically, “Rustin” serves out the apparent fact that racism exists in the real world as if it were a five-star dish, but in reality, it’s just watered down.