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A Towering Task: The Story of the Peace Corps

By Lynnette Nicholas, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Informative documentary promotes global activism.

Movie NR 2020 107 minutes
A Towering Task: The Story of the Peace Corps Poster Image

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This timely, informative (if slow) documentary sheds light on a truly unique American agency and the goal of using it to create global citizens striving to make an impact on future generations. The film's overall tone is inspirational, and screenwriter Shana Kelly does a very detailed job of weaving together the personal experiences and testimonials of past and present volunteers, clearly creating correlations with the political climates of particular time periods and their direct impact on global cultures and communities. Not only does A Towering Task showcase the powerful function of the Peace Corps and its history, it also reveals the agency's many struggles, including its high leadership turnover.

Vanessa Carr's cinematography is a great asset to the film. Beautiful aerial shots capture unique locations around the world. A Towering Task is most likely to appeal to teens and young adults who are especially interested in international relations, global policy, and political history. The film also showcases the impact of positive social and global activism, encourages having empathy and compassion for all people, and lends itself to conversations and perspectives centered on the future of the world. At times, the documentary can drag -- and come across as promoting American nationalism. There's also a bit of an "American savior" complex in play. But in other moments, it's genuinely engaging as it depicts the original motives for establishing the Peace Corps.

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