Hello World

Movie review by
Monique Jones, Common Sense Media
Hello World Movie Poster Image
Tech documentary gently tackles racial, gender inequality.
  • NR
  • 2020
  • 78 minutes

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Kids say

age 18+
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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Examines racism and discrimination in the field of computer engineering, giving viewers more perspective and empathy for coders from marginalized communities. Lessons about unlearning prejudice and advocating against stigma teach viewers the importance of inclusion in society. 

Positive Role Models

Several of the people interviewed for the documentary can be seen as role models for younger coders from marginalized communities: They tell of their experiences with racism and provide suggestions on how to change the computing industry. Shawn Wildermuth's curiosity regarding his industry gives way to lessons about unlearning prejudice. He and other White male coders featured in the film are arole models for White coders who want to learn how to break out of an insular worldview. 

 

Violence
Sex
Language

One use of the word "f--k."

Consumerism

A scene from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo shows Rooney Mara's character Lisbeth Salander drinking a Coca-Cola. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Scene from Jurassic Park shows Samuel L. Jackson's character smoking a cigarette. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Hello World is a documentary written and directed by computer engineer Shawn Wildermuth. It explores the barriers to entry in his field for women and people of color -- barriers that reflect the racism and discrimination in society at large. There's one use of "f--k," but, as a whole, Hello World is a gentle way for audiences to learn more about the inequalities in the computing industry and how addressing those inequalities can help everyone become more empathetic and inclusive. 

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Teen, 14 years old Written byAnonymous Potato March 2, 2021

Review

This book suks. I have never read it but it suk. It is a book that says helo wrld on every page and it say it on evry page. Dis book dodoo

What's the story?

HELLO WORLD was written and directed by Shawn Wildermuth, a veteran computer engineer. His goal to make a documentary about what drew him to his profession took a turn when he realized the pervasive racism and sexism in his industry -- a standard he inadvertently upheld. As he discovers the issues facing the computing industry, Wildermuth gathers the opinions of Black and White women engineers and Black male engineers, whose first-hand experiences give them a viewpoint that's indispensable to the industry if it hopes to change. 

Is it any good?

This compelling film originally was, by Wildermuth's own admission, going to be different than the way it ended up. His initial plan was to make it about how computing saved him from a life of poverty and limited choices. Ironically, the issues Wildermuth faced growing up are similar to the issues facing many women and people of color. Yet thanks largely to being a White male, Wildermuth was able to escape his initial life trajectory and find success -- without a college degree and without facing the kind of institutionalized gatekeeping that prevents others from achieving the same ends, including slyly-crafted "aptitude tests" that focus more on advanced math than actual coding skills. While Wildermuth does a good job of pivoting from his original viewpoint, it's still apparent from how much he focuses on his own journey and love for coding that he faced challenges balancing the two sides of the film. 

Wildermuth's foray into learning more about the racism and sexism that permeates his profession is admirable, and it's heartening to see so many White or White-passing men in the film acknowledge the industry's problems, their own biases, and ways they might have inadvertently kept the "boys' club" of computing going. Wildermuth himself admits that he's been prejudiced in how he viewed who could or couldn't be a coder. The voices from marginalized communities are welcome, offering first-hand context for the issues Wildermuth explains to the audience. It would have been nicer to have had even more voices from these communities interviewed -- perhaps limitations came from time, from Wildermuth's circle of friends, or both. But the fact that the subjects interviewed still skew mostly toward White and male shows that there's still a lot of work to be done in the computing industry. Overall, though, viewers should come away with a better understanding of how the issues facing this profession are much like the ones facing America at large. If we can figure out how to fix the imbalance in the industry, then there's hope for fixing the imbalances and inequities in our daily lives. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about inclusion. What does inclusion mean to you? What does it mean in the context of Hello World?

  • What are some of the issues facing marginalized people in America?

  • How can you be more inclusive in your daily life? How does curiosity make you more inclusive?

  • Why is it important to learn about others' experiences? How can media help with that?

Movie details

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