Parents' Guide to

Giving Voice

By Jennifer Green, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Inspiring docu on writer's legacy; mature themes, language.

Movie PG-13 2020 87 minutes
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What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 1 parent review

age 10+

“Giving Voice” to the Best in Us

This is a terrific documentary. Every student and every adult in America should see it. I love that Viola Davis says that acting “saved” her. Any creative person, any ethnic minority, any female, anyone who aspires to live and give with dignity will be encouraged. This documentary honors August Wilson and honors the people who have followed his Light. Please enjoy; and encourage others to see “Giving Voice”.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

The central message of Giving Voice -- that Wilson's work remains remarkably contemporary and relevant -- is uniquely brought to life in this inspiring documentary. Rather than relying solely on celebrity talking heads and archive footage of Wilson discussing his work, the film personifies his legacy through teens who connect deeply to Wilson's plays and the theater arts. The students are mostly teens of color, though not all Black, and many come from impoverished backgrounds. They're all at an exhilarating, joyful, world-is-your-oyster moment in life.

In ways both obvious and more nuanced, the teens' experiences mirror so many of the realities that Wilson wrote about. Interviewees talk about Wilson's characters, their back stories, and how the cadence of their words feel so familiar. Seeing themselves and their own histories reflected in Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning works in turn imbues them with pride, purpose, and a sense of belonging. That Wilson's legacy remains so palpable and meaningful to young people today is striking. That some of the harsher historical realities he shone a light on still resonate with the teens -- and even inspire some to want to work for social change -- is exciting for them and stirring for viewers to see.

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