The documentary takes a look at the history, and current activism against voter suppression; barriers to voting that most people don't even know is a threat to their basic rights as citizens... Read allThe documentary takes a look at the history, and current activism against voter suppression; barriers to voting that most people don't even know is a threat to their basic rights as citizens of the United States.The documentary takes a look at the history, and current activism against voter suppression; barriers to voting that most people don't even know is a threat to their basic rights as citizens of the United States.
The story of voting rights in this country is not brief, nor simple. The movie opens with a primer on Georgia's 2018 gubernatorial election between Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp. From there, the film documents the vast journey from the dawn of our nation when the only people who could vote were white, male landowners to where we are today, with voting rights for all citizens over 18.
It's remarkable just how much Garbus and Cortes are able to encompass within the film from Reconstruction and Jim Crow segregationist practices, and the civil rights movement of the mid-20th century, up to the present day. The pacing is impressive and gives the viewer a lot to take in and take away from the film, but the film is never overwhelming in its scope or ambition. Garbus and Cortes even include footage as recent as the Wisconsin primary depicting voters donning facemasks at the polls. It's slightly surreal to see a story being told that is so heavily informed by the headlines of today. The film's most engaging perspective comes not from that of a voter, but a politician in that of Stacey Abrams. Her point of view anchors the film as living proof of the consequences of voter suppression. The importance of voting demonstrated throughout gives urgency to All In, and I commend the editing, considering how much the situation surrounding voter suppression and the fight for voting rights was still developing in the months leading up to the film's release.
All In: The Fight For Democracy affirms the power of one's vote and shows how much traction has been gained in establishing wider voting rights. The film also demonstrates the degree to which the ever-present threat of voter suppression has grown and the ways in which it plagues the elections of today, illustrated by the gubernatorial race between Abrams and Kemp. Michael Waldman utters a sentence early on in the film that encapsulates nicely the film's thesis: "History is never a straight line, it's always a fight." History repeats itself just as often as it progresses and that notion is crystallized within this film at various points where the film jumps back in time to show how the past has informed the present. All In closes with a crystal-clear message to go vote. An acute reminder that All In can't close the door on its story precisely because the fight referred to in the film's title is still ongoing. Much work has been done in the realm of voting rights, but much more still remains to be done- the film doesn't lose sight of that.
I give All In: The Fight For Democracy 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18 for some brief violent images from newsreels and archives. This is timely, illuminating documentary filmmaking covering a pressing issue and definitely a must-see, not just for the information it contains, but the skill with which it's presented. All In: The Fight For Democracy is available to Amazon Prime subscribers starting September 18, 2020.
Reviewed by Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST!
- Oct 21, 2020