Something The Lord Made is a captivating and poignant biographical drama that masterfully showcases the unyielding spirit of two extraordinary individuals who defied societal norms and overcame adversity to make groundbreaking contributions to the field of medicine. Directed by Joseph Sargent and originally aired on HBO, this film leaves a lasting impression with its powerful performances, heartfelt storytelling, and thought-provoking themes.
The film tells the true story of the remarkable partnership between Dr. Alfred Blalock (played by Alan Rickman), a renowned white surgeon, and Vivien Thomas (portrayed by Mos Def), an exceptionally talented African-American carpenter with a passion for medicine. Set in the racially segregated 1930s and ’40s, the narrative delves into the unlikely alliance forged between the two men and their journey to revolutionize heart surgery.
One of the film’s greatest strengths lies in its outstanding performances. Alan Rickman, known for his versatility, delivers an exceptional portrayal of Dr. Alfred Blalock, portraying him as both a brilliant surgeon and a complex individual struggling to navigate the racial biases of his time. Mos Def’s depiction of Vivien Thomas is equally powerful, capturing the character’s intelligence, resilience, and unwavering determination despite facing countless obstacles.
The movie succeeds in highlighting the racial discrimination prevalent during that era, revealing how Vivien Thomas’s immense contributions were often uncredited due to the color of his skin. It also shines a light on the dichotomy between Vivien and Dr. Blalock’s friendship within the context of their professional roles, emphasizing the limitations imposed by society’s prejudices.
The narrative is infused with genuine emotion, making it a truly engaging and moving experience. It highlights the challenges faced by the medical duo in their pursuit of innovation and their unyielding dedication to saving lives. Their groundbreaking work in developing the “Blue Baby” procedure, which paved the way for modern heart surgery, serves as a testament to their brilliance and determination.
The film’s production values are commendable, recreating the era with meticulous attention to detail. The period-accurate sets, costumes, and soundtrack contribute to the authenticity of the storytelling, immersing the audience in the world of the characters.
Something The Lord Made is not only a story of medical achievement but also a celebration of friendship and the triumph of the human spirit. It prompts viewers to reflect on the injustices of the past while acknowledging the significant progress made in terms of racial equality and diversity in the medical field.
If there is one minor critique of the film, it’s that some historical details were condensed or slightly fictionalized for dramatic effect. However, this is a common approach in biographical movies, and it doesn’t detract from the overall impact of the narrative.
Something The Lord Made is an emotionally resonant and intellectually stimulating film that leaves a lasting impression. The outstanding performances of Alan Rickman and Mos Def, coupled with the compelling storytelling, make this movie a must-watch for anyone interested in medical history, social justice, and the power of collaboration and perseverance. It reminds us that extraordinary achievements can emerge from the unlikeliest of circumstances when exceptional minds come together to break down barriers and change the world for the better.