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Film Studies: “Malcolm X” Essay (Movie Review)


The movie Malcolm X tells the story of a black man whose life began in poverty and ended with assassination. He was killed because he had antagonized the very people with whom he sought to fight for racial brotherhood. The movie is a true example of how a man reinvents himself in conforming to the needs of society, particularly after recognizing its ills and potential to transform in keeping with the tenets of religious tolerance. At first, Malcolm was a man who stood firm against the white race because he believed it was responsible for the extreme exploitation of the blacks. He was initially a gangster and after the end of his term he became a Black Nationalist leader of the Nation of Islam which was aimed at spreading Islam’s message of equality and tolerance.

However, upon realizing that the very leaders whom he worked with were hypocrites, he soon abandoned the organization and assumed the responsibility of spreading the messages of Islam by himself. By this time, he had shed his radical views against the Whites and became more tolerant towards all sections of society. But in doings so he earned the wrath of the very people with whom he worked and was assassinated while he was crusading for the cause of equality.

The major theme of the movie shows multiculturalism in sharp contrast with the intense feelings of racialism that prevailed during the period. The movie portrays that Malcolm opposed societal division on the basis of race and held that it is always better for one race to assist another. This transformation in him came after his pilgrimage to Mecca. He started preaching and propagating racial brotherhood. Others themes of the film are those of race, religion extremism and sexual exploitation before such change took place in Malcolm.

The themes discussed in the movie are controversial, as the film initially portrays t the ideas of Malcolm as the ones that blacks are more superior in comparison with other races; that whites are evil and that they will eventually be vanquished. After Malcolm undergoes transformation, he assumes the opposite role in propagating racial brotherhood. This is evident in such instance when Malcolm, before conversion to Islam, is approached by a white woman who offers him help, but he bluntly refuses. This behavior indicates his complete lack of feelings for whites. But he becomes more tolerant after converting to Islam. Prominent signs and symbols highlighted in the film include racial hatred, sexual exploitation, religious tolerance and racial brotherhood. The film represents the way in which Malcolm becomes a more tolerant individual after recognizing the spirit of brotherhood in Islam.

The film symbolizes how one can change his/her life and indicates that fate is not responsible for all events occurring in one’s life. The signs and symbols in the context of minorities are meaningful because it becomes evident that no religion preaches hatred or violence. The film clearly depicts that Islam preaches racial brotherhood, which is aptly demonstrated by Malcolm in his speeches; for which he was assassinated. Political issues emerging with Malcolm’s increasing popularity and he was soon labeled a traitor by the Nation of Islam because it prohibited its members from participating in political activities. However Malcolm did not have political aspirations, he only wanted to highlight the extreme significance of racial brotherhood, which he believed was eating into America’s social structure.

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IvyPanda. (2020, May 22). Film Studies: "Malcolm X". Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/film-studies-malcolm-x/

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"Film Studies: "Malcolm X"." IvyPanda, 22 May 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/film-studies-malcolm-x/.

1. IvyPanda. "Film Studies: "Malcolm X"." May 22, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/film-studies-malcolm-x/.


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IvyPanda. "Film Studies: "Malcolm X"." May 22, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/film-studies-malcolm-x/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Film Studies: "Malcolm X"." May 22, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/film-studies-malcolm-x/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Film Studies: "Malcolm X"'. 22 May.

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