Just Mercy: Film Review

Get your tissues at the ready! Just Mercy is a heartbreaking tale that won’t leave a dry eye in the house.

Just Mercy tells the story of real-life lawyer Bryan Stevenson (played by Michael B. Jordan) and the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), the organisation he set up after university to help seek justice for wrongly imprisoned people from underprivileged families. It focuses on his mission to free Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx), who was jailed and placed on death row in the late 1980s for murdering a white woman in Alabama, despite there being many holes in the prosecuting evidence.

Just like When They See Us (if you haven’t watched it on Netflix yet, then do it!), Just Mercy is a story about an injustice that’ll make you so angry. You just can’t believe that something like this can happen in real life. We follow Stevenson and his assistant Eva (Brie Larson) as they investigate the case – how it should have been done in the first place, instead of the sheriff’s department pointing the finger at a poor black man and trying to build a very thin case against him using coercion. Stevenson and Eva don’t have it easy – they are frequently threatened by people who don’t want them uncovering the fabrication or freeing a ‘murderer’.

Jordan gives a solid performance as the determined Stevenson, but he is outshone by Foxx, who thoroughly deserves his SAG nomination. He hasn’t delivered a top dramatic performance in a while and he is excellent as a man who is wrongly incarcerated for six years and losing hope. Tim Blake Nelson also warrants a shout out for playing the troubled Ralph Myers, who is battling years of guilt, and Rob Morgan as McMillian’s death row neighbour Herbert Richardson. His storyline made me cry like a baby.

I’m really glad this film exists to shed light on Stevenson and his incredible work saving the lives of the wrongly convicted. Just Mercy is quite conventional in its storytelling but really excels in the gripping courtroom scenes. You can’t help but be moved by it. Definitely worth a watch.

In cinemas Friday 17th January 

Rating: 4/5

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