Before I say anything else, even though I am rooting for Antonio Banderas or Adam Driver for the Best Actor Oscar, Jamie Foxx deserved a nomination!!
Of the previous 4 pictures I have seen, "1917", "Uncut Gems", "Cats" and "A Hidden Life", equaling over 10 hours of film putting them all together didn't move me as much as "Just Mercy" including a 10 minute combined scene of a courtroom and a prison cell that had tears running down my face and I didn't care who saw it if anyone could through their tears.
A cliche is defined as "something that has become overly familiar or common place" and, sadly, this is a movie full of cliches because so much that is wrong in race relations has not changed in centuries. When a black man is pulled over by the police he will raise his hands above the wheel so they can see he has no weapons in his hands. Have you ever seen, even in a movie, a white man do this? When a white girl is raped and killed in Alabama can you guess what will be the color of the man arrested? The court scenes have been seen in many movies and in most of them you get what you expect in a deep south State in the U.S.A. but there area few differences there as in the rest of the movie mainly because of Foxx.
"Just Mercy" is based on the true story of Bryan Stevenson, a black man, who, after graduating from Harvard, headed to Alabama to work for/with the Equal Justice Initiative which helps with the defense of those wrongly condemned and can't afford or get legal help . Part of the film takes place in Monroeville, Alabama, the home of Harper Lee who wrote "To Kill A Mockingbird". The book was published in 1960 taking place in the 1930s while the case of Walter "Johnny D." McMillan takes place in the 1980s and 1990s and shows that not much has changed over the 60 years including a threat to a white woman who works with Stevenson.
Bryan Stevenson is played by Michael B. Jordan, who, unfortunately, has to say a lot of the cliches written by Destin Daniel Cretton and Andrew Lanham and plays the lawyer/advocator adequately but is out-shined by Foxx and Rob Morgan, as a Vietnam veteran living with PTSD, on death row in the cell next to Foxx. Brie Larson, as Stevenson's paralegal and colleague, really hasn't much to do while many other cast members, black and white, have cliched--there's that word again--roles you see in every movie about the South.
"Just Mercy" should be seen and yet in today's showing there were 8 people! Maybe if people would understand that what happened in 1930, 1960, 1980 is still happening today as the following headline in today's news was:
Detroit man exonerated after nearly 30 years in jail "always had faith this day would come"