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Movies, dining and things to do / Spokane and North Idaho

‘Just Mercy’ tells a real-life story of justice

What with the Golden Globe-winner "1917" opening, and that 'Star Wars" movie still hogging so many screens, a movie that's bound to get overlooked when it opens on Friday is Dustin Daniel Cretton's "Just Mercy."

A biopic that tells a story revolving around real-life civil-rights attorney Bryan Stevenson, "Just Mercy" boasts an all-star cast, including Michael B. Jordan, 2005 Best Actor Oscar winner Jamie Foxx and 2016 Best Actress Oscar winner Brie Larson.

The film tells the story of Stevenson's defense of a black man named Walter McMillian who in 1988 was convicted of killing a white woman. The jury, according to news reports, ignored a number of witnesses who claimed that McMillian was at a fish fry at the time of the murder.

The reviews of the film are mostly positive (83 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes). A sampling:

Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly: "What continually floats the film is the commitment of its excellent cast, and the intrinsic truth at its core: that justice shouldn't be divided by black and white, even if the message that delivers it sometimes is."

A.O. Scott, New York Times: ""Just Mercy" is saved from being an earnest, inert courtroom drama when it spends time on death row, where it is opened up and given depth by two strong, subtle performances, from Foxx and Rob Morgan."

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post: "From its smooth visuals and warm, swinging sounds to its magnificent performances, 'Just Mercy' is masterfully constructed to keep us inside a story that otherwise would be too brutal to bear."

 Seeing "Just Mercy" might be a nice break from watching droids and those strong with The Force for, say, the fifth time.