A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Being a beloved, successful politician includes being versed in compassion and empathy for others, having integrity and perseverance to fight for justice (and stand up for your convictions), and being skilled in teamwork and communication. Having humility keeps you focused on what's important: your family and community. Fighting for justice includes having courage to speak up even when no one else stands with you. Education and hard work are important.
Positive Role Models
Lee showed immense courage when casting the sole vote against giving the U.S. president unprecedented power to wage war after 9/11. Her courage has defined her career, leading to hundreds of meaningful laws to help poor and non-White communities. Her past as a single mother raising her children with help of government assistance inspired compassion and empathy for others. Her persistence and perseverance have inspired compassion among congressional colleagues, resulting in their crossing the aisle to help her achieve goals. Despite many accomplishments, she remains humble, recognizing how her roots helped get her to where she is now.
Lee is an inspiring role model for Black youths and for women and girls of all races and backgrounds. Her mentors, including Shirley Chisholm (the first Black woman to run for U.S. president) and Rep. Don Dellums, are also excellent examples of Black political role models. The three political figures, as well as community organizers like the Black Panthers, showcase how Black and non-White community leaders have created programs to help those less fortunate or left behind by White-centered government initiatives.
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Violence & Scariness
Lee mentions a prior relationship that involved domestic abuse. Footage from 9/11, including one of the planes flying into the Twin Towers, is shown.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Mention of drinking wine. Discussion about Lee's bill to expunge marijuana charges from the bulk of criminal offenders' records. Humor poked at the name of Lee's bill, the REFER Act, by calling it the "reefer" bill.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Barbara Lee: Speaking Truth to Power is a charming documentary about the life and career of California's Rep. Barbara Lee, the highest-ranking Black woman in the U.S. Congress at the time the movie was filmed, and her commitment to integrity, activism, and social justice. There's no strong language or sexual content, but you can expect light discussion of marijuana, mention of domestic abuse, and footage from 9/11. The film offers viewers of all ages a closer look at a truly inspiring civil servant -- the very definition of a positive role model -- and what it took for her to become who she is today. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Abby Ginzberg's documentary is a charming look at the life of a genuinely inspiring politician. The film recounts the story of Lee's life, starting with her birth, which was affected by medical racism, to her time as a single mother on government assistance and as a college student learning the ins and outs of community outreach and politics.
It's easy to be discouraged by the many stories of ineffectiveness in U.S. politics. But Barbara Lee: Speaking Truth to Power gives viewers hope that there are those in office who are truly effecting change for those who need it most. The film also has the ability to inspire others to take change into their own hands by diving into community organizing and political studies. The film shows that it takes courage to stand up for what you believe in, even when you're ahead of the curve -- such as when Lee was the sole vote against giving President George W. Bush unparalleled power to wage war after 9/11. And it encourages viewers, particularly young, politically minded ones, to feel that they can make a difference. Lee's message of perseverance teaches those wishing to follow her lead that the power is yours: All you need is a commitment to your values and morals, the willingness to work hard, and the excitement to get the job done.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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