The hype leading up to One Night in Miami’s release was real. The directorial debut from Regina King was not one to be missed! Knowing that it would be added to my list, I chose to watch it on Inauguration Day. That choice was rather fitting, though I didn’t realize just how much until after it had finished. While the story was foreign to me going in, I did know the names of the four main characters and that was enough to gauge my interest.
On the night of February 25, 1964, four men gathered together in a room at the Hampton House. In this room, minister and activist Malcom X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), professional boxer Muhammad Ali, formerly known as Cassius Clay Jr. (Eli Goree), football player James Brown (Aldis Hodge) and singer songwriter Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.) discussed various civil rights movements as well as what it is like to be a Black man in America. While the actual conversation these men had is not known, this seemed to be a pretty realistic account of what could have happened.
The movie which was based on the play of the same name written by Kemp Powers in 2013, was interesting to see unfold. While there were some other sets throughout, the room at Hampton House was integral to the story and most of the events took place there. It definitely had the feel of a play and I liked the more intimate feel that it brought. In fact, I think it would be rather interesting to see the play adaption so that I can compare the two.
The casting for One Night in Miami was flawlessly done. Kingsley Ben-Adair, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge and Leslie Odom Jr. were brilliant as these men who we have all come to know in one way or another. Despite the fictitious depiction of their conversation, I would like to think that there was some truth to these discussions as well as the chemistry that we saw on screen.
Overall, I really appreciated the story and I feel like I learned a lot while watching. I liked hearing each man’s beliefs that they not only shared with one another, but that they wanted to share with the world too. Black Lives Matter is not only something that happened back in the 60s. If the last year taught us anything, it’s that this is still a hot topic that needs to be addressed.