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The movie is a drama based on the true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a poet and professor at Wiley College Texas, who forms a team of strong-minded, intelligent young students, and they become the first black debate team to challenge Harvard's prestigious debate champions.
There's a real organic sense in the film of how young minds can be nurtured and energized way beyond sex, sports and slacker attitude, into caring and evolving kid works-in-progress. And how debating can be pretty cool too, who knew?
Enough fictional liberties were taken with The Great Debaters to make it fit neatly on the inspirational genre shelf, but it's grounded in enough reality to excuse Eisle's we-shall-overcome contrivances