Cast: Steven Garza, Ben Feinstein, René Otero, Robert MacDougall
If you love politics, the new documentary “Boys State” is definitely a movie you have to see!
And if you hate politics, then “Boys State” is without a doubt a movie you have to see!
But if you say you neither love nor hate that game, and are rather indifferent to it all, then “Boys State” may be one of the best movies you’ll see all year.
The film, available since August 14 on Apple TV+ after premiering at this year’s Sundance Film Festival in January, follows a few of the more than 1,000 teenage boys who took part in a weeklong Boys/Girls State program in Texas.
Sponsored by the American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary, non-profit organizations of United States (US) war veterans and their spouses, respectively, the annual Boys/Girls State events started in 1937 and are held in every single US state. The high school students learn about politics and set up mock state governments.
They are split into two “parties” and have to “politic” their way in to getting elected to positions like governor or attorney general.
Some big names in American politics have passed through the program, including former President Bill Clinton, former Vice President Dick Cheney and political commentator Rush Limbaugh, as have a number of famous actors, athletes and entertainers as well.
And while the documentary focuses on young students from the Texas program, shockingly their views don’t sound all that different from people here in The Bahamas or anywhere else in the world, of any age. The battle over what should be one’s fundamental rights is clearly part of a global war, in what is increasingly a very tiny world.
Through these very driven and determined young men, we see everything that’s wrong with politics and politicians today. Even at their young ages, it’s disturbing to see the lengths some will go to in order to secure a win.
Don’t come with that “I don’t like documentaries!” excuse. This is reality at its finest. Very few films this year will have your emotions on such a roller coaster ride; within minutes you can go from laughing to shock and anger, then to cheering and applause, and then crying (bawling!) and nail-biting suspense.
The four young men we see for most of the film – Steven, Ben, René and Robert – are remarkable, and seem poised for greatness in adulthood.
Steven, in particular, is one of the most inspiring people on the planet, and will touch your soul with his honesty. He, and “Boys State” in general, are proof that despite all that’s wrong with the world today – and especially all that is wrong with politics – there is still hope for humanity.
• Dwight Strachan is the host/producer of “Morning Blend” on Guardian Radio and station manager. He is a television producer and writer, and an avid TV history and film buff. Email email@example.com and follow him on twitter @morningblend969.