Just Mercy Review

Kennedy Jackson, Commentary editor

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“Just Mercy” is a tear-jerking journey that goes through the events of a black man falsely accused by the U.S. legal system and the young lawyer who never gave up on him. It captures the power of resilience, hope, compassion, and justice that are still factors in creating a better world today.

Young Harvard graduate, Bryan Stevenson, played by Michael B. Jordan, travels down to Alabama to represent Walter McMillan, played byJamie Foxx, who is sentenced to die on death row for the murder of an 18-year-old girl despite the numerous amount of evidence proving he couldn’t have been the killer.

One of the main focuses of the movie is the corruption of the legal system. Many people on death row could very well be innocent, or just be deserving of a lesser sentence, but many lawyers either have given up on their clients or don’t have the resources or time to successfully handle their cases. There are many obstacles defendants have to go through, especially if the people accused are of color. 

In southern Alabama during 1987, McMillan is written off as the true culprit because of his race. The movie very clearly points out how much the black people of the south have to fight when McMillan’s wife expresses her concerns saying: “How am I supposed to teach to follow the rules when they can be arrested in their own home?” Even successful and educated Bryan Stevenson was unlawfully harassed by the cops for working on the McMillan case.

However, this movie doesn’t make this case completely black and white, putting African-Americans against caucasians. Only one white main character was specifically against Stevenson and McMillan because of their race. Both the supposed witness of the crime and the district attorney were just looking out for themselves, but they weren’t rooting against McMillan. And when it counted, they did the right thing.

This movie demonstrates the human nature of fighting for yourself but also the nature of human compassion. Stevenson cared greatly for all his clients and thought of them as family. Not only that but the characters in the movie felt deeply about this issue. Not just the black people and not just for McMillan but also for the poor girl that was murdered. It teaches a valuable lesson about hope and to never give up, as well as to do the right thing. Especially when you could help someone in desperate need of it.