Based on the play by Kemp Powers, who also wrote the screenplay, Oscar winner Regina King's directorial debut tells the story of a fictional meeting that featured Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, and Sam Cooke as they discuss the political and cultural movements of their respective occupations during the early 1960s. The four main actors give fantastic performances; Kingsley Ben-Adir as civil rights activists Malcolm X, Eli Goree as boxing champion Cassius Clay, AKA Muhammad Ali, Aldis Hodge as NFL fullback Jim Brown, and Leslie Odom Jr. as soul singer Sam Cooke. Even though Ben-Adir, Goree, and Hodge give great performances in the film, Leslie Odom Jr. shines above them as the film's heart and standout. Odom Jr.'s Sam Cooke is a man trying to achieve a level of recognition that the other three have and is living in the shadows of his famous peers. Humanizing Sam Cooke with his charm, charisma, and singing abilities, Leslie Odom Jr. delivers a powerful Oscar-caliber performance. "One Night at Miami" is an incredible experience that will make you appreciate what these four men accomplished in their lives and how they changed the way we look at civil rights, sports, music, and the people around us. Thanks to Kemp Powers' intelligence story, Regina King's powerful direction, Leslie Odom Jr.'s Oscar-worthy performance, as well as the incredible performances by Ben-Adir, Goree, and Hodge, "One Night in Miami" is an intelligent hangout with four friends that's worth the two-hour runtime. I could have stayed for countless hours listening to more stories about their extraordinary accomplishments. The film is also a phenomenal breakthrough directional effort for Regina King, who continues to experiment within cinema and tv, whether it's action, drama, comedy, and directing, achieving fantastic results. Continuing to expand her horizons, Regina King has become one of the best entertainers and visionaries within the past decade. This film makes me very excited to see what King does next in her career.
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