One Night in Miami Scene Breakdown

Even though One Night in Miami missed out on making our collective list of the Top 15 Films of 2020, it’s still one of the best films from last year. The directorial debut of Watchmen star Regina King follows Kingsley Ben-Adir, Leslie Odom Jr., Eli Goree, and Aldis Hodge as activist Malcolm X, singer Sam Cooke, boxer Muhammad Ali and football player Jim Brown as they spend one night together after one of Ali’s victorious boxing matches in 1964. As the awards race heats up with One Night in Miami being a hopeful key player, King provides a breakdown of one of the best scenes in the film.

One Night in Miami Scene Breakdown

What starts as a fictionalized, friendly hangout between these famous figures turns into a series of pivotal, powerful conversations. These figures heatedly discuss the weight on their shoulders due to their place in the world and the state of society and racism in 1964 that is, unfortunately, still relevant today.

But perhaps the most passionate and intense conversation is a debate between Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir) and Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.) about the manner in which Black men of their stature should be contributing to the civil rights movement. Malcolm X chastises Sam Cooke for being complacent with his position of entertaining white audiences with his voice without using it to call attention to the social inequality and injustice that plagues the Black population.

Though this scene focuses on a heated conversation between these two figures as they verbally spar, in this scene breakdown for The New York Times, Regina King also calls attention to what Kingsley Ben-Adir and Leslie Odom Jr. do in the moments in between their lines. The silent moments of reaction and reflection that these real-life characters are going through. This may be a fictionalized account of an evening that never took place between these figures, but their conversations and thoughts echo what all these men stood for at an important time in history. In these performances, the moments where they aren’t speaking can be equally as important as their dialogue.

This scene is so outstanding that it ended up on our countdown of the 50 Greatest Movie Moments of 2020. And even though One Night in Miami didn’t make the overall list of /Film’s best movies of 2020, it ranked very high on my own personal list, and it’s undoubtedly worth your time.

One Night in Miami is available to watch right now on Amazon Prime.

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