Flash Movie Review: Free State of Jones

One of the bonuses for being in my career positions is being able to communicate with people from every continent except Antarctica. My fascination with other countries and cultures dates back many years. What I have learned is everyone shares the same basic concerns and joys of life, albeit in varying degrees. For me the physical differences associated with one’s race just tell me where their ancestors were born; otherwise, they mean nothing to me just like the color of one’s eyes. Walking through my local grocery store is like taking a free global trip without the jet lag. Down one aisle I will find products from Asia, followed by items from the southern part of North America down to South America. I enjoy watching the shoppers peruse the shelves and sometimes I even ask them about a product I am curious to try. Here is a little known fact about me; very few people in my circles know I go up to help people who appear to be lost or attempting to figure out where something is located. In the old days it was obvious when they were holding a map. Doing this is a great way to learn something new in my opinion. All of this makes up my world; the differences and commonalities between all of us. As generations move up the age ladder my concern is our history gets less important or even forgotten. An example would be a generation several times removed from the generation that experienced an event of genocide. I believe we need to know our history if we are going to grow as civilized humans. To me a major asset is hearing about an event from a person who experienced it. After that person is gone we are left with visual history such as actual places, video/film and historical documents. This is why I feel movies like this one have a place in our knowledge of our past.   CONFEDERATE soldier Newton Knight, played by Matthew McConaughey (The Wolf of Wall Street, Dallas Buyers Club), came to the realization he could no longer be a part of the corrupt things he saw taking place. Based on a true story this biographical dramatic film kept my attention due to its story; in fact, I felt the story was the best part of the movie. With Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Beyond the Lights, Concussion) as Rachel, Keri Russell (August Rush, The Americans-TV) as Serena and Mahershala Ali (The Hunger Games franchise, The Place Beyond the Pines) as Moses; the acting was solid though oddly I was not as impressed with Matthew as I have been in the past. Parts of the script were well focused and intense; however, the story line that involved a time in the future was a distraction for me. I think if the writers stayed in the one time period this picture would have had more impact. It was obvious what they were trying to convey but I would have preferred if the writers waited and made a sequel that dealt with that particular subject. Despite the tough and bloody scenes in this movie the story is a lesson about our history.


2 ¾ stars



About moviejoltz

From a long line of movie afficionados, one brother was the #1 renter of movies in the country with Blockbuster, I am following in the same traditions that came before me. To balance out the long hours seated in dark movie theaters, I also teach yoga and cycling. For the past 3 years, I have correctly picked the major Oscar winners... so join me as we explore the wonder of movies and search for that perfect 4 star movie.

Posted on July 1, 2016, in Drama and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. Learning about history, regardless of whose history it is, is always a good thing.

  2. This film looks good! Thanks for bringing attention to it!

  3. I thought this looked like the type of movie both my husband and I would enjoy based on the trailer. It’s interesting that you’ve picked up on an issue of a time shift undermining the focus as that’s the type of thing that annoys me in movies too. As history nerds, we will probably still enjoy this movie though when we get a chance to see it eventually.

  4. The feel good movie of the summer. Why is it that we are only now discovering these “INCREDIBLE” True stories (as described in the trailer) of American history that you NEVER EVER heard about in school history class? No episode of the History Channel, Discovery Channel, New York’s Best Seller’s list ever mentioned these people or this story? So how is it that these director’s so happen to come by the AMAZING true story about one said Newton Knight? I’m a history buff too like Laura (PA Pict) and her husband is, albeit my historical prowess lies within the World Wars and Music histories but still, growing up I watched every Civil War documentary with my dad and speaking of that…. The Ken Burns mini series on the Civil War?!?!?! Where is this Newton Knight there? If this was such a huge and important turn of events during the Civil War then why has it been erased from the books and televised documentaries until now? Now I’m not saying that this is fictitious but there HAS to be a substantial amount of Hollywood BS in there of course and yes I will more likely go see it as well however I stand by my initial convictions about when we see these movies about anyone or anything it’s all here say and conjecture a lot of the time. Also, many “true events” stories are blurred by misinterpretation and it has been noted in a good number of films where the main character lives and historically dies a horrible death or whatever the case may be. I know the term “based” leaves a lot open to consideration but at the same time there has to be a better way to expel the story’s concerns and main directives. On the fence really about this one. Finally; If I have overlooked books and video documentaries about this person I will gladly renege my comments about it all.

    • No need to renege on your comments because like you I never heard about this in any of my history classes. I too wonder how these type of stories find the light of day. Since you are also a history buff like Laura and her husband, I think this story will interest you. You also touched on an important fact; these “Hollywood” films are made for a reason–to make money, so I tend to always have a skeptical mind about how much truth is involved in these “based on a true story” films. Though with that being said, my main purpose is reviewing the entertainment factor of a movie. If you get to see this I absolutely would enjoy hearing back from you. Thank you for the comments.

  5. It reminds me of that old hippie saying, “What if someone threw a war and nobody came?” These are the kinds of stories you don’t hear about so that war will persist another day.

    • Well said and I agree as I mentioned in my comments below, I never heard this story in any of my history classes. Thanks for the comments and old hippie saying.

  6. Thanks for the recommend. I’ll have to check this one out.

  7. I tried to talk my daughter into this one based on the New York Time review over the Fourth of July week I was in Cleveland with my Mom. I will see this at the theatre and enjoy it another time. Sounds good and I think it is okay for some stories which elaborate details to create interest in a subject. 🙂

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