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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Making change in society and at a personal level requires courage, perseverance, and teamwork. It's also an exercise in empathy and compassion for others. Love and support are crucial to success. Some might question the movie's focus on mental health as the key cause of the United States' gun violence.
Positive Role Models
Gabby Giffords' ordeal and what she has done in its aftermath has affected many, opening up avenues for compassion and empathy. Giffords' personal journey has also led her to create change in the United States regarding gun violence and safety. Her political power to create movement on gun safety has resulted in hundreds of pieces of state-level legislation in the country, an accomplishment that required perseverance, teamwork, and inspiring empathy and compassion in others. Her husband, Mark, is endlessly loving and supportive; her colleagues and family members also seem warm and helpful.
Giffords is Arizona's first Jewish state representative, a strong, smart woman with agency. Former President Barack Obama and Representative Jim Clyburn are the two most prominent people of color in the film. A Florida's state representative who's a Black woman also appears. But movie's focus is firmly on Giffords and her husband.
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Violence & Scariness
Scenes centered on trauma, death, and murder. Scenes with blood and dead victims of gun violence. Clips from 911 calls during moments of gun violence, as well as clips from news stories about gun violence, are featured. Giffords' appearance in the hospital and during her recovery could be upsetting for some.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Giffords and Kelly are affectionate; their relationship and marriage are discussed.
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Language includes "ass," "damn," and "hell."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Gabby Giffords Won't Back Down is an inspiring documentary about former Arizona Congress member Gabby Giffords, who barely survived an assassination attempt and now advocates for gun reform. The film includes traumatic images and clips from the attack on Giffords, in which several other people were killed, including a 9-year-old girl. Additional traumatic moments from other gun violence tragedies are also shown, and there are potentially upsetting images of Giffords in the hospital. Language is infrequent but includes "ass," "damn," and "hell." The movie has strong themes of courage, perseverance, empathy, and teamwork. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This film could be a hard watch if you're squeamish about or triggered by gun violence, but it's necessary to watch if you want to gain a better perspective on the effects of gun violence. The movie shows how it has ravaged Giffords' and others' lives and lays bare the political maneuvering that keeps Americans unsafe and at risk.
Gabby Giffords Won't Back Down rightly points a finger at the NRA and U.S. Republicans for their refusal to do what's important for Americans. But some viewers might question the film's focus on mental health as the key cause of the country's gun violence. While the man who attempted to kill Giffords was diagnosed with schizophrenia -- and is implied not to have treated it properly or as being without the means to treat it properly -- statistics show that people with mental illness are not the main cause of gun violence. The documentary doesn't focus on other factors, including abusive partners, White supremacist views, and other forms of thought that may lead to domestic terrorism. Still, the film makes a solid case for viewers who are still on the fence about advocating for gun control to join the cause and leave the legacy of a violent United States in the dust.
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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.