I read Just Mercy long ago, and then listened to parts of it on audio while on a road trip with our family a few years later. Now, with the release of the movie, this book has been on my mind again.
Bryan Stevenson's story is impossible to forget.
I took my girls to see this movie on MLK, Jr. Day a few weeks ago. It wasn't intentional that I picked that day to take them. It was simply because none of us had school that day, but it does seem fitting that this would be the day we picked.
Stevenson has spent his life trying to help those wrongly convicted get out of prison. His book shares many different stories, but the focus of the movie is focused mainly on one man, Walter McMillian, who was sentenced to death for the killing of a young woman. There's plenty of evidence proving McMillian's innocence, yet facts don't seem to matter as much as the color of McMillian's skin.
This movie was just as thought-provoking as the book. I have friends in law enforcement who are good, honest people, and doing good work. Unfortunately the depiction of law enforcement in this book was not positive. Neither was the judicial system in the south.
The movie is rated R and there is one scene that was certainly intense enough to warrant that. When one man is taken to the electric chair we see in detail the preparation behind this, his anguish, the way his death affected the others on death row. It is was difficult to watch, yet important as well. If nothing else, it will cause you to examine your own beliefs about capital punishment.
I'm so glad we took the time to see this movie. Of course, I'll always tell you that the book is better, but if you can't get around to reading the book, the movie will do as well. I love that I have read the book and then was able to see the movie which refreshed my memory and brought this important work to the surface again.
Just Mercy and Bryan Stevenson's work are worth taking the time to explore and get to know more about.