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Parents' Guide to

At the Ready

By Monique Jones, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Intriguing docu tackles immigration, policing issues.

Movie NR 2021 96 minutes
At the Ready Poster Image

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This interesting film showcases the kaleidoscope of feelings that Latino-American teenagers in a Texas border town have about the border patrol, policing, and American attitudes toward immigrants. What makes the El Paso teens' story unique is that they're able to get recruited into law enforcement roles through a school program. This puts them -- and the At the Ready film crew -- right in the middle of the challenges facing Latino immigrants during the Trump Administration, including the tragedy of children being separated from their families and locked in cages.

The film shows how the teens want to go into law enforcement in order to help others, but some of them start struggling with the realities of the issues facing members of the U.S. Border Patrol. One teen is said to have met some of the kids who were separated from their families, which left her conflicted about continuing on what she thought would be her life's path. Some of the complexity surrounding generational ideas about policing and politics is covered, particularly regarding one teen's struggle to feel accepted regarding her sexual identity and defense of Black Lives Matter. The "thin blue line" variation of the American flag hangs up in one of the classrooms, and one of the teachers is a staunch Republican, seemingly unwilling to hear points of view that are more associated with Democratic ideals. At the Ready could have gone deeper into exploring the divides between the generations and between parties to give a more rounded look at how deeply political human rights issues have become. But, as it stands, the film brings a new perspective to the discussion about the United States' borders.

Movie Details

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