AFI FEST 2020 REVIEW! Regina King’s impassioned directorial debut, One Night in Miami, unites four legends and delivers a timely conversation about their collective life experiences. Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir) assembles his friends Cassius Clay (Eli Goree), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.), and Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge) for a candid and sometimes searing heart-to-heart.
Instead of simply celebrating their successes, these strong black icons examine their individual contributions to the Civil Rights Movement in the early 1960s. Each man reflects on his role in the black community, questions the impact he makes on their culture, and discusses his work’s importance.
Powerful performances and poignant dialogue drive Kemp Power’s adaptation of his acclaimed stage play. The film draws viewers in, and brutally honest confrontations keep us captivated. We feel like a fly on the wall of Malcolm X’s hotel room, eavesdropping on a rare moment of vulnerability amongst idols.
“…unites four legends and delivers a timely conversation about their collective life experiences.”
These young actors carry the film on their broad shoulders. Their seamless delivery lands every weighted line, and their unwavering conviction stirs our emotions. Each performer marvelously captures the essence of his larger-than-life historic character.
Ben-Adir palpably emotes Malcolm X’s urgency, Goree endearingly exudes Clay’s unequivocal ego, Odom Jr. effortlessly channels Cooke’s soul Hodge brings additional grace and gravity to Brown’s swagger.
King carefully and cleverly reveals their successes and painstaking blows. With one knock-out, one jeered performance, one undercutting racial slur, and hateful acts of violence – we get a glimpse into the worst moments of their lives. We understand how much is at stake, how hard they need to fight, and how cautiously they must conduct themselves.
"…the Civil Rights Movement never ended."