By Sabrina McFarland,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Two activists talk bipartisan politics and common beliefs.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Respectful communication with others who may have different viewpoints. One person’s vote can make a difference in an election.
Positive Role Models
References include the election of Susan Wild, first woman to represent Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional District in Lehigh Valley area, and political opponent Greg Edwards, first person of color to run for the seat. Discussions include respectful conversations between political activists Edwards and Tom Carroll, who share partisan and common beliefs with each other; and the rules Edwards gives his sons to follow if ever asked by police to pull over on a road. Images include meet-and-greet gatherings held by political candidates and campaign strategists to engage potential supporters and encourage voter participation and voter outreach through telephone calls.
Violence & Scariness
Reference to allegations of police killing an unarmed Latinx father of three children. Images include guns on a promotional flyer about a raffle event. Discussions between political activists Carroll and Edwards include subjects of criminal justice reform, mass incarceration, and mandatory minimum prison terms. Mentions include claims by a campaign supporter about nuns sexually assaulted, priests murdered, relatives assassinated.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
References to reproductive rights and marriage equality.
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Swear words include “s--t," but most mentions are bleeped out and substituted with subtitles such as "$#@%" or "$#!%." Images include political signs with messages such as "Drain the Swamp," "Mexican American for Trump," and "Build the Wall." Scenes include a car passenger shouting "get rid of Trump," and another says "we don't care what old White men think." Discussions include Carroll describing the death of a younger sibling and loss of a parent. A resident addresses the question of "slitting each other's throats" due to community's different political views. A child speaks about people displaying the middle finger.
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Products & Purchases
Mentions and images that include Trump promotional items such as milk chocolate candy bars, campaign flag, life-sized cardboard cutout; face masks and clothes bearing words and messages; and Lehigh Valley distribution centers such as Amazon, Home Depot, and Walmart.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Images include drinking by campaign supporters at campaign rallies and post-election gatherings. Mentions include allegation by one candidate that R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company is a super PAC contributor to a competitor's fund, and refilling of prescriptions.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Battleground is a documentary featuring two activists who share common and different beliefs in America's present atmosphere of political partisanship. References include the subjects of criminal justice reform, mass incarceration, and mandatory minimum prison sentences. Images include drinking at campaign events, and guns pictured on a promotional flyer. There are claims made about police killing an unarmed Latinx man. Mentions include allegations about murdered and sexually assaulted clergy. Swear words include "s--t," but most are bleeped out and appear in subtitles as "$#@%" and "$#!%." Battleground includes the powerful themes of communication, perseverance, and teamwork.
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Where to Watch
Videos and Photos
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What's the Story?
BATTLEGROUND looks at the landscape of bipartisan politics as seen through the eyes of two grassroots activists from Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley. The region voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, respectively, and then flipped to Donald Trump in 2016. Tom Carroll is the area's Tea Party chair and a Trump delegate. Church pastor and community leader Greg Edwards makes a run for Congress and is endorsed by Senator Bernie Sanders. And although Carroll and Edwards appear on opposite sides of the political spectrum, the pair decide to meet and civilly discuss their diverse views, and unexpectedly discover they also have common beliefs.
Is It Any Good?
Directors Hemal Trivedi and Jonah Markowitz offer an enlightening view of two bipartisan activists as they set out to make a political difference in their community. The film shows the pair engage in a civil conversation about each other's diverse views and common beliefs and their engagement with local residents, and shares aspects of their personal stories. Says Carroll, "The system is completely broken and doesn't work for anybody." Edwards agrees, and adds, "The only thing more powerful than red and blue is green. The one percent can continue to fund both the Republican parties and the Democratic parties because at the end of the day, I really don't think they care." Battleground's result is a film that skillfully lends itself to an all-important dialogue between parents and teens about respectful communication with others, and that it's OK to agree to disagree.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the communication between political activists Tom Carroll and Greg Edwards in Battleground. How do they demonstrate perseverance and teamwork? Why are these important character strengths?
What may be the causes behind America's deep political divide? During what other times in the country's history has this happened and why?
What social factors may lead a voter to choose a political party? What reasons could create a reversal in their affiliation?
What is the definition of a super PAC? What influences could large financial contributions have on a candidate and their campaign?
How important was Bethlehem Steel in shaping the U.S. economy? What were the possible consequences of its closure on workers and the nation?
- In theaters: October 16, 2020
- On DVD or streaming: January 25, 2021
- Cast: Tom Carroll, Greg Edwards
- Directors: Hemal Trivedi, Jonah Markowitz
- Studio: Keystone Docs
- Genre: Documentary
- Topics: Activism, History
- Character Strengths: Communication, Perseverance, Teamwork
- Run time: 56 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: February 28, 2022
Did we miss something on diversity?
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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