One Night in Miami review – BFI LFF2020


Did One Night in Miami change these famous names forever?

One night in Miami is a fictionalized retelling of a meeting which took place on February 25th, 1964, between 4 friends weighing up the impact their growing fame and success has on their community and the racial struggles at the time. To put it in context, Cassius Clay had just won the world title and made the decision to change his name and attempt to fully commit himself to Islam. This proved difficult as he still craved the parties, women and alcohol like most young people do.

These four friends are being brutally honest with each other but never disrespectful. They are having conversations some of us may have had with our own close friends when we have chosen a different path to them or expressed opposing points of view (thinking back to Brexit 2019!). This gave the film a very personal feel, becoming much less about their celebrity and more about their hopes, fears, and insecurities. It was particularly interesting to see Mohammed Ali doubt himself privately while publicly seeming so self-assured. It’s based on a 2013 play written by Kemp Powers and it’s a brilliantly crafted directorial debut for Regina King.

It’s has a bit of boxing, lots of drama, turmoil and conflict that keeps you engaged in the conversations from beginning to end. The question of historical accuracy and which parts happened are for another day. This is for entertainment and It’s unlikely you’ll see a more interesting film featuring just 4 men, a bed, and some music in a hotel room! You can see the full trailer here

It recently had its premiere at the BFI London Film Festival 2020

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