Review: ‘One Night in Miami’ shows the world what could have been

The (mostly) fictional account tells the meeting of four iconic leaders in equality

‘One Night in Miami’ Twitter | Photo Courtesy
The film represents Regina King’s directorial debut.

In the early 1960s, a meeting of Jim Brown, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, and Cassius Clay – soon to be Muhammad Ali – nearly sounded too good to be true. However, one iconic night in Miami changed the course of history as we know it.

While the four icons are revered today, many of them had yet to reach their full potential. Some, on the other hand, had little time left in their lives to continue making the changes they deemed necessary. The film, set just a year before Malcolm X’s assassination, showcases each character’s most well-known qualities throughout the movie.

The four leading characters all happen to be in Miami at the time of Clay’s fight for the title of Heavyweight World Champion. Before the fight, most anticipate Clay to take a brutal loss by the end of the night. However, he overcomes all odds and gives all around him a reason to celebrate.

This celebration is what gathers Malcolm, Brown, Cooke, and Clay for one night etched into history. While the meeting that took place between the four characters is said to be true, it’s expected that most of the conversations that took place between them are entirely fictional, as the film imagines how the night may have gone.

Each character is given a well-deserving amount of screen time to accurately tell their story, as well as what point they’re at in their careers. It’s extremely challenging to highlight a standout actor, as each of the four leads honors their corresponding character, and also steals the screen anytime they appear.

What may be the most impressive aspect of this film is King’s directing of the lead actors and their distinct, memorable personalities. She can summon the most well-known characteristics and qualities out of each actor that force the viewer to see the real-world leaders, rather than the actors portraying them.

“One Night in Miami” may be a hybrid of both fiction and truth, yet the impact that this story can have on a viewer is entirely real. As modern racism has been put into the spotlight over the recent months, there may not have been a better time for this film to be released.

The film avoided glorifying the leaders and instead put their memorable goals and journeys on the forefront of the screen. It’s a story that not only reminds us of how far we’ve come in change but that there is always room to continue moving forward.

Review: 4/5

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