Review: John Lewis: Good Trouble

Year: 2020
Runtime: 96 minutes
Director: Dawn Porter
Features: John Lewis, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton

By Kate Boyle

The United States feels like it’s at another turning point in its social history. Rebelling against injustice and protesting for change are things built into its core. There could not be a more perfect time for a documentary like Dawn Porter‘s “John Lewis: Good Trouble” (2020) to be released. For those unfamiliar with John Lewis, he’s a Congressman representing the state of Georgia, who is well known for his history of non-violent activism during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s and his particular dedication to voting rights.

Copyright: Magnolia Pictures

This film covers the highlights of Lewis’ life (so far) going over his childhood in Troy, Alabama raising chickens and working on his family’s land, to his first exposure to activism in college, his work during the civil rights movement, and his journey to becoming a Congressman.

“Anyone who is a fan of Lewis, is interested in Civil Rights, or just needs a documentary to watch should give it a chance.”

Lewis is known for his participation in the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery over the Edmund Pettus Bridge where peaceful protesters were violently dispersed by state troopers. Lewis sustained a horrible head injury and the event was widely broadcasted, bringing much needed attention to the movements going on in the South. “John Lewis: Good Trouble” also covers Lewis’ involvement in various sit-ins and bus boycotts.

Copyright: Magnolia Pictures

His story is told in a variety of ways, with old news footage, interviews with family and friends, and Lewis himself speaking about his experiences, and commenting while watching footage he’s never seen before.

Many familiar faces from American politics make appearances in the film to comment John Lewis. People like Bill and Hillary Clinton, Cory Booker, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Nancy Pelosi, and Ilhan Omar all speak about the affect Lewis has had on them personally and in Congress. The film also introduces viewers to John Lewis the man- not just the civil rights icon or congressman- and the meaning behind his trademark phrase “Good Trouble”.

John Lewis is an amazing person and Porter’s documentary does a wonderful job telling his story. Anyone who is a fan of Lewis, is interested in Civil Rights, or just needs a documentary to watch should give it a chance. It’s available to rent on a variety of platforms such as AppleTV, Amazon, and YouTube in the US and Canada.


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