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Parents' Guide to

Miss Virginia

By Lynnette Nicholas, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Mother's love trumps dirty politicians in fact-based drama.

Movie NR 2019 102 minutes
Miss Virginia Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 1 parent review

age 8+

Best movie thus far for School Choice advocacy!

Excellent depiction of the true fight for School Choice advocacy in the fight for equal education that exists to this day.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (1 ):

The Emmy-winning Aduba does a good job playing a mother who's full of conviction, love for her community, and unflagging energy to advocate for better education in inner-city communities. Fitch, as Virginia's idealistic and impressionable son James, is believable in his role, and he has a natural innocence that resonates on-screen. Modine steps into Williams' shoes with ease; he's convincing as a privileged politician who's disconnected from the inner city but has a heart for change. That said, under R. J. Daniel Hanna's direction, many of the scenes are predictable, and the screenwriting lacks in-depth cultural nuance. Some of the depictions of Black female characters feel stereotypical and caricature-like in terms of depicting what a strong, Black female or mother is "supposed" to be. (Spoiler alert: There's a scene in which Virginia forces her way onto a posh golf course at an exclusive country club. Williams asks her how she was able to get in, and her rebuttal is, "I told him that I was the maid.") Many of the movie's punchlines are redundant, and moments that could have been genuinely sweet and endearing are overlooked or stifled.

But there are many positive themes in Miss Virginia, including finding the courage to stand up against legislation, maintaining unity while mobilizing a community, asking for help and support when it's needed, persevering even when you appear to be the underdog, and fighting for the next generation to have access to quality education. The movie doesn't present Virginia as a victim, but rather as a victor; she's a relatable example of what many hardworking parents have to endure and overcome for their children's sake (in this case, scrub toilets at a second job so she can earn the extra income needed for James' tuition). Plus, this film does a great job of showing the resource disparity between private schools and public schools in disenfranchised communities that lack support. And there's positive representation of diverse educators of color who are committed to their students' education regardless of what the education system does or doesn't provide.

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