A Sisterhood Born of Sorrow
Both Betty Shabazz (Mary J. Blige) and Coretta Scott King (Angela Bassett) know their husbands are always in danger as they are Malcolm X (Lindsay Owen Pierre) and Martin Luther King, Jr. (Malik Yoba). Following the assassinations of both their husbands the two women find their friendship growing as between them they not only had 10 children to raise but also had to deal with the hopes and hatred from various groups thanks to their late husband's political beliefs. As Shabazz went back to school in order to train to become a teacher King continued her husband's work and campaigned for a national day in memory of him.
As a Brit born in the 70s with little to no interest in politics I hope it comes as no surprise that whilst I have come across the names Betty Shabazz and Coretta Scott King in other movies I have watched I knew nothing about them what so ever. And truth be told after watching "Betty and Coretta" I honestly don't feel like I have got to know them any better. Yes I learned about how Shabazz and King became friends following the murders of their husbands and how Shabazz stood up for what her husband believed rather than what people were using his speeches for but not once did I feel like I really got to know these women on a deeper level and only learned what they did. That isn't knocking what they did but getting to know the women and what motivated them is what I wanted to know.
This is why I will admit that I found it a struggle to stay completely focused on "Betty and Coretta" because not once did they really bring these characters and their struggles to life in a realistic, gritty way. For me that comes from the writing and for me the writers have starved both Angela Bassett and Mary J. Blige of real character depth, flaws and pain to get their teeth into to make these characters as inspirational as they should be.
What this all boils down to is that "Betty and Coretta" didn't deliver the depth, power, emotion and grit which I had expected and in truth found it all a bit to clean and toned down to really get me involved in the friendship which forms between these two widows and what they went on to achieve following the murders of their high profile husbands.