Betty and Coretta (2013) Review
Note: I watched this film nearly three years ago when it first premiered in 2013. I wrote a review and everything however, I never published it for some reason. After I recently bought the DVD I was surprised to see that I had already had a review written for the film. After re-watching the film my opinion of the film remains the same.
From the very beginning I was in love with the visuals and tone of the film. We start off with images of Betty Shabazz and Coretta Scott King with words from the legendary Ruby Dee. Ruby Dee is the narrator of the film. Her warm voice lends a personal point of view to the film. The costumes, locations, makeup, and hair were all perfectly historically accurate.
Some of the looks were even exact replicas of photographs of the women.
One thing I hate about period films is that sometimes the makeup to age the actors looks so unrealistic; not so in this case. It was evident throughout the entire film that thought was put into the look of the film. I especially enjoyed the cinematography which almost looked like a vintage picture. As the years went on the cinematography changed signaling a change in time period. Towards the end of the film it no longer carried a vintage quality. This was done seamlessly and did not distract me from the story; it lent to it. All of the visuals lent to the story showing a shift in time through costumes and cinematography instead of timestamps.
I learned a lot about the women; most especially Betty Shabazz who I knew practically nothing about. Learning about her teaching at Medgar Evers College and her radio show was interesting. Seeing the different dynamics of the relationships was nice because, although the Kings and Shabazzs had a different dynamic there was clearly love there. I also learned about the King and Shabazz children; most of the information was new to me. One of my favorite scenes is at the Black National Convention. There was so much energy in that scene I felt as if I was there in the crowd. The cinematography and editing served this scene especially well by splicing in actual images from the event.
I cannot speak to the historical or political accuracy of Betty and Coretta. From a few google searches I can see that there were some that disliked how the story was told. They believe certain real life people were portrayed wrongly in this film. I have no opinion on these viewpoints. I watched the film for entertainment and I was thoroughly entertained.
I loved the costumes and the film as a whole. If you haven’t watched it already I highly recommend that you do!