It's a good film definitely but something that could have been much better.
Racism is what this film is about I can say. But the debates are equally interesting. It's tough to debate on anything without having much knowledge about the topic. If we were to debate then we must have full knowledge of what we are talking about. The actors here have precisely done that, they seem to be in control of a good director and make us believe that they are fully aware of the topic of the debate.
Denzel Washington is the director and also acts in the movie and I am sure this was the toughest thing to do. To act is much easy than directing, but to do both and still make it good is terrific. I am happy that Denzel almost pulled it off with neat direction.
Yes, I have qualms from this movie. It's very nicely packaged but at the end leaves a void and leaves us with a wish of how much could this have been. I wish it was more about debates than about personal turmoil and conflict. There is a love story, a parent-child relationship and the relationship of teacher and students. Except for the love-story, the other things are fine. I wish still that this love-story that was between Samantha Booke (played by Jurnee Smollet) and Nate Parker (played by Henry Lowe) was not needed.
It's a film based in 1930's and the production design, the art direction have worked well. They are pretty decent and seem to take us through that period of 1930's. The cinematography was just good, but I believe there was lot much scope in this film and considering that film was made in 2007, I suppose full potential of camera was not used. My biggest crib is editing though, there are few scenes that I believe were not needed and cut have been cut. The second biggest crib is in writing, I suppose that the material given was good, but not enough to make an interesting movie. So, I think that's the reason why uncalled from drama and relationships had to be added up in the screenplay.
Surely, this is a good film, but some deep down thought and more focus on debating would have made it a great film. A 3/5 for a good film. For others, it's up to them to decide.