Thursday, December 27, 2007

henrietta bell's role gets great review

Washington Post movie critic Stephen Hunter raves here about 'The Great Debaters,' the film that offers a fictionalized account of the Wiley College debate team. Hunter especially notes the performance of Junee Smollet, who plays a character based on Henrietta Bell Wells, the lone woman speaker on the debate team:
...the movie belongs to Smollett. There's such passion and pain in her performance. She plays a woman named Samantha Booke, who wants to be Texas's third practicing African American female lawyer. She's dignified, but her hold on dignity is precious; she's brilliant, but her confidence in her mind is trembly; she's beautiful but won't let it go to her head; she's vulnerable, though she tries to hide it. And she's fantastic, particularly in convincing you how, though assailed by doubts, clouded with emotion and racked with fear, she finds a voice that's musical in its purity. If they should ever make a movie of Anne Moody's great memoir "Coming of Age in Mississippi" (and I hope they do), Smollett is the actress for the lead role.
We're delighted that so many visitors to this blog have come via searches for "Henrietta Bell Wells" in the movie's wake.