Based on true events, Just Mercy tells the story of Walter “Johnny D” McMillian (Jamie Foxx), a man who was wrongfully convicted of the murder of Ronda Morrison and sentenced to death in Alabama. Adapted from the book by Johnny D’s attorney, Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan), Just Mercy is a hard-hitting look at racism in Alabama in recent decades, and the reality of a corrupt justice system.
Bryan Stevenson moved to Alabama to begin the Equal Justice Initiative, a non-profit organization providing legal services to prisoners who could not afford a proper representative, who were not granted a fair trial, or who were likely wrongly convicted. When Bryan first met with Johnny D to reopen his case, it was clear that Johnny D was broken and had lost hope. He didn’t want to feel the pain or put his family through it again. With every turn, it seemed as though there were more road blocks that they had to face. People were intentionally trying to sabotage the appeal despite knowing that there was no real case against Johnny D.
I have never heard so many sniffles or deep breathes in a theatre as I did during Just Mercy. This film is real and powerful. What’s more, knockout performances by stars Jamie Foxx, Michael B. Jordan, Brie Larson, Rob Morgan, and Tim Blake Nelson, do not be surprised if you hear some–if not all–of these names as award season approaches.
Just Mercy recently premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and will begin its wide release on December 25th, 2019.