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The Student News Site of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student News Site of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student News Site of DePaul University

The DePaulia

“Rustin” review: History falls flat in over-ambitious and underwhelming dramatization

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“Rustin” is a well-intentioned attempt at a biographical drama successfully rooted in history but too overwhelmingly energetic to dig those same roots in reality. The jazzy soundtrack and 1960s stylization are not enough to save the film from a mediocre script and ill-fitting medium trying to reframe history as a palatable narrative rather than a classroom curriculum. Within the forgotten story of Bayard Rustin, a civil rights activist and organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Had a Dream Speech,” there are worthwhile themes of intersectionality, identity and determination within the civil rights movement. “Rustin” fails not because it is uninspired or unimaginative, but because it could be so much more than what the audience is given. 

*This film screened at the 59th Chicago International Film Festival

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