Monday, November 27, 2023


Director George C. Wolfe's biopic of civil rights activist Bayard Rustin (Colman Domingo) deals primarily with Rustin's role in being the guiding force in organizing the 1963 March on Washington. The film is more notable for its performances that plot which doesn't give us much information about the man other than how his homosexuality and former Communist leanings created friction with the NAACP who disowned him for a period of time before the 1963 march.

In terms of offering a snapshot to one man's role in one event, Rustin succeeds. The film showcases the struggle of grassroots politics, the compromises along the way, and the joy of of success. Other than his friction with the NAACP, his hot and cold friendship with Martin Luther King, Jr. (Aml Ameen), and his homosexuality, the film doesn't dive much into Rustin outside of the events surrounding the march and how his charisma and knowledge led to success even while fighting those on his own side over the optics of his sexuality.

Given the title of the film one might expect more from Rustin's life than simply the march. We do get a look at his relationships with Tom Khan (Gus Halper) and his flirtations with Elias Taylor (Johnny Ramey), but everything is passed through the filter of the march celebrating the crowning achievement of Bayard Rustin's political career. While successful it what it sets out to achieve, there's certainly more to explore in Rustin's life, or spend time delving deeper into the resentment and bigotry that nearly caused the NAACP to loose one of its strongest allies. The film works as a primer to who he was but ultimately Rustin fails to offer much insight to the man other than in how instrumental he was to the 1963 march's success.

Watch the trailer
  • Title: Rustin
  • IMDb: link

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