Reviews

The Great Debaters

3

Denzel puts in an uplifting performance as a teacher who challenged the norms of '30s Harvard

The Great Debaters review

Denzel Washington does his best inspirational teacher in his second directorial outing, a fact-based story that, like 2003’s Antwone Fisher before it, aims at maximum uplift.

It follows a plucky all-black debate team that takes on Harvard at a time when segregation was legal, racism endemic and lynching commonplace.

The odds are stacked against them, which is probably just how Washington and producer Oprah Winfrey like it.

Yet for all the massaged facts and blatant fabrications, it’s tough to resist its emotional pull and stirring finale.
 

Film Details