Amid protests around the globe following the unjust death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, many are seeking resources about racist discrimination and police brutality. Warner Bros. is offering its 2019 film Just Mercy for free during the month of June, hoping to provide widespread education on those topics.
The legal drama, released in December, stars Michael B. Jordan as civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson, who defends Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx), an Alabama death row inmate wrongfully convicted of murdering a white woman.
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Warner Bros. Pictures released the following statement about making the film a free rental on all digital platforms:
We believe in the power of story. Our film Just Mercy, based on the life work of civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson, is one resource we can humbly offer to those who are interested in learning more about the systemic racism that plagues our society. For the month of June, Just Mercy will be available to rent for free across digital platforms in the US.
To actively be part of the change our country is so desperately seeking, we encourage you to learn more about our past and the countless injustices that have led us to where we are today. Thank you to the artists, storytellers and advocates who helped make this film happen. Watch with your family, friends and allies. For further information on Bryan Stevenson and his work at the Equal Justice Initiative please visit EJI.org.
The film is based on a true story and the memoir by Stevenson of the same name. McMillian was convicted of the 1986 murder of Ronda Morrison, a case which has never been solved. Despite normal protocol, McMillian was held on Death Row after being arrested and before being formally convicted. He waited there six years before a judge ruled in March 1993 that “perjured testimony and evidence withheld from his lawyers” contributed to McMillian’s conviction. McMillian died in September 2013.
At the time of McMillian’s release, Stevenson made this prescient remark, per The New York Times: “I think everybody needs to understand what happened because what happened today could happen tomorrow if we don’t learn some lessons from this. It was too easy for one person to come into court and frame a man for a murder he didn’t commit. It was too easy for the state to convict someone for that crime and then have him sentenced to death. And it was too hard in light of the evidence of his innocence to show this court that he should never have been here in the first place.”
Over the course of Just Mercy, Stevenson founds the Equal Justice Initiative alongside Eva Ansley (Brie Larson), who is today the organization’s real-life Operations Director. The non-profit provides legal representation to those wrongfully convicted, educates policymakers about criminal justice reform, and is “committed to changing the narrative about race in America.” Here’s how you can donate to the EJI.
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