One Night in Miami

January 8, 202180/1005 min
Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom Jr.
Written by
Kemp Powers
Directed by
Regina King
Run Time
1h 50min
Release Date
January 15, 2021
Overall Score
Rating Summary

On the night that Cassius Clay defeated Sonny Liston to become the heavyweight champion of the world a group of friends would meet to discuss their place in the present and the future. This setting  of this meet is one fictional night in Miami, where four men who would be the faces of a generation would come together. Those men, Cassius Clay (Eli Goree), Malcom X (Kingsley Ben -Adir), Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge), and Sam Cooke ( Leslie Odom Jr.) came to celebrate Clay’s achievement, but the night ended up with a lot more meaning than any of them thought possible.

After the fight is over the four men meet at a motel room where banter between friends begins. Things begin playful enough but they soon turn to more serious conversations, involving what each is doing for the community they come from. Based off a play by the same name, the dialogue is heavy as each actor is given a time to shine and make his stance. While everyone has something to say, the main difference of opinion comes between Cooke and Malcom as one thinks the other has not done enough. The other believes things might have been pushed too far. Each man comes from a place they believe is right, that they are using  their notoriety to help bring awareness to how their people are being treated. But this night will leave them all looking in the mirror and asking tough questions of themselves. The conversations are honest and come from the heart and only help you appreciate the men that they all became. A night like this could have happened, as the men portrayed were friends in real life, but even if it did, you have to believe it wasn’t a night like this.

Bringing back memories of another play that was eventually written for the screen, One Night in Miami  might not have the star power of Glengarry Glen Ross, but it is for sure not lacking in performance. While not all are equal, as Ben-Adir and Odom Jr. land the most powerful punches, I think that it has more to do with who they were playing, than who they are as actors. Kemp Powers, who wrote both the screenplay and the play it was adapted from provides the words and sets the scene and the actors take full advantage of that. There is no doubt that power is in the words, since it is both based on a play and directed by an actor in Regina King, who shows she has many other talents other than being a great actor. There is a lot of magic in the air in its nearly two hour run time for as someone who loves words, this is a great listen. This is a genuine American tale, with four important historic figures, that you can tell was deeply researched and written with love. I was looking forward to this one and it did not let me down, I just wished this night had happened, who knows what incredible things could have come from it.

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