Bear's Blog

My Favorite Political Films that Inform and Entertain

Nov 10, 2020

Whew! The election was a nail-biter. Looking forward to a return of competence, decency and honesty in the White House (not to mention presidential pets – and another groundbreaking first, a rescue dog). Exhausted from living in Trumpworld for 4 years, I am ecstatic to finally be liberated!
So let’s take a break. I invite you to dive into some entertaining movies that give historical context to some of our recent cultural and political currents. All are fictional movies of actual events, and they have given me perspective and hope at this particular moment in American history.
“The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix)
I watched “The Trial of the Chicago 7” the night before the election was called. It’s based on the infamous 1969 trial of seminal protest figures of the day. They were charged with conspiracy to riot at the 1968 Democratic convention, where thousands gathered from all over the country to oppose the Vietnam War.
The video evidence of police brutality against young protesters stunned, shocked and - polarized - the nation. Sound familiar?

The film gave me a more complete picture of what happened at that notorious trial, and the players involved (Sacha Baron Cohen as Abbie Hoffman, anyone?).
"Mrs. America" (Hulu,FX)
Mrs. America is a fascinating look at the political fight for the Equal Rights Amendment (still not ratified…) through the story line of its most formidable opponent, Phyllis Schlafly.

Portrayed humanely but honestly by Cate Blanchett. It gives us a chance to see all the personalities of the feminist movement - Gloria Steinem, Shirley Chisholm, Bella Abzug and Betty Friedan - and what a fun romp it is! It also chronicles the beginnings of the alignment of the religious right with Republican politics, and portends the eventual rise of the Tea Party – and Trump.
"Trumbo" (Amazon/Netflix)
As a young filmmaker I thought Dalton Trumbo’s film “Johnny Got His Gun” was the most powerful anti-war film I had ever seen. Set in the aftermath of WWI (but released in 1971, during the Vietnam War) a young soldier is injured. He loses his arms, legs, and all of his face – but with his mind intact, he becomes a prisoner in his own body.

However “Trumbo” is about Dalton’s life; he was blacklisted in the 1950’s, and was among many Americans who lost their livelihoods during the McCarthy era. A lesson for our times…

“McCarthyism is used broadly to mean demagogic, reckless and unsubstantiated accusations, as well as public attacks on the character or patriotism of political opponents” - Wikipedia

"Hamilton" (Disney Channel)
Whether you saw "Hamilton" on stage or not, be sure to catch the filmed version with the original Broadway cast! It’s so inspiring to see the history behind some of America’s all-too-human founders. They worked to forge a country based on ideals, no matter how imperfect the current state of affairs or the differences between the various personalities. We are still that America, inching our way toward a more perfect union. 

Have fun with these well-done films that inform, but still entertain!


Subscribe to receive my newsletter with commentary and great resources about personal development, healing, and spirituality.