(2020) Documentary (The Content Farm) Johanna Lohman, Nancy Lohman, Steve Lohman, Luis Gutierrez, Jean Gearon, Margaret Johnson Morrison, Kate Houston Gearon, Suraida Gutierrez, Dallas Chisolm, Adrienne Chisolm, Mimi Hassanein, Jessica Gutierrez, Hedda Hassanein. Directed by Cheryl Jacobs Crim
Almost from the day that Donald Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States, concerned women all over the country took to the streets. Their March on Washington, organized by women concerned about the future of reproductive rights and LGBTQ rights, and the rise of misogyny from a man who bragged on tape that he could grab the genitalia of a woman without permission and get away with it.
The movie begins with that Women’s March and continues until the 2018 midterms that saw the most racially, ethnically and gender-diverse Congress in U.S. history get elected. It follows six activists – professional soccer player Jennifer Lohman, one of the heroines of the U.S. Women’s team’s run to World Cup wins and proud possessor of the “Jo-Hawk” hairstyle, an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ youth; Representative Luis Gutierrez from Chicago, convinced by his wife to skip the inauguration and march – and afterwards, continuing to fight for Dreamers and immigrants while helping his daughter out in her own bid for an alderman’s spot in the Windy City; Mimi Hassanein, an Egyptian immigrant with 15 grandchildren who is inspired to run for a local city position; 82-year-old Margaret Johnson Morrison who marched with John Lewis and Martin Luther King in Selma who makes a point of attending modern marches despite her advanced age – she is passionate about educating the young on the power of citizen activism; and Dr. Jean Gearon, who turned her six-person book club into a political activist organization numbering more than 400 and growing.
Veteran documentary filmmaker Crim organizes the stories nicely, and make no mistake, this is meant to be inspiration of the highest order. We’re meant to take hope from the simple act of ordinary people making the decision to make a difference. All of these people do make a difference in their own way, with ripples that range from small to mighty. It’s hard to argue with Morrison who stands up at a KLAN rally; that’s the kind of bravery that most of us only dream of possessing.
Crim shows how the seeds of change come from fields of despair as those who see the Trump presidency as a call to responsibility – the responsibility to stand against one of the most venal political figures in history. It is inspiring to watch how political activism translates to the ballot box and as we sit as I publish this awaiting for word from battleground states that may finally end this presidency following the biggest turnout of American registered voters in more than a century, and reminds us that all of us must do our part because even if the election goes the way we hope it does, the work is far from over. This is by far one of the most inspiring films I’ve seen all year. Amazon Prime members can watch this for free at publication time; it can also be purchased there by non-members.
REASONS TO SEE: Truly inspirational. Thoughtfully assembled. Shows the direct connection between activism and ballot box. Illustrates the power of citizen participation
REASONS TO AVOID: Trump followers won’t like this much.
FAMILY VALUES: There is some profanity and adult themes.
TRIVIAL PURSUIT: Jean Gearon’s great-grandmother was a leader in the women’s suffrage movement that brought the vote to women in America.
BEYOND THE THEATERS: Amazon
CRITICAL MASS: As of 11/6/20: Rotten Tomatoes: 100% positive reviews. Metacritic: No score yet.
COMPARISON SHOPPING: We Are Many
FINAL RATING: 10/10