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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Documentary shows ins and outs of covering a presidential primary, focusing on female correspondents who follow the candidates from state to state. The interviewees discuss the challenges women and people of color in TV news face and have faced in what has historically been an industry dominated by White males.
Positive Role Models
Female correspondents and journalists from diverse ages, backgrounds, ethnicities show through discussion and example the hard work, drive, and sacrifice it takes to succeed when covering presidential primaries and caucuses, and in TV journalism as a whole.
Violence & Scariness
News footage of protests in aftermath of police killing of George Floyd.
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"F--k" used several times, including once on a protest sign. Also: "s--t," "ass."
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Products & Purchases
Documentary is made by CNN and focuses exclusively on CNN reporters.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Cigarette smoking. Beer drinking. Talk of needing a drink.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that On the Trail: Inside the 2020 Primaries is a documentary that focuses on the female journalists covering the early months of the 2020 presidential primaries. The interview subjects represent a diverse range of ages, backgrounds, and ethnicities, and the interview subjects discuss their experiences as women and women of color in what has traditionally been an industry dominated by White males. The women interviewed in this documentary are inspiring role models who talk frankly of the challenges and rewards of their jobs, and the sacrifices they must make in their personal and family lives in order to keep up with the 24/7 news cycle of a presidential election. There's some profanity, including "f--k" used several times and seen once on a protest sign from news footage. It also shows violent footage of the police protests in American cities after the killing of George Floyd, plus brief shots of cigarette smoking and beer drinking. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
For teens interested in careers in television journalism, this documentary is a must-see. On the Trail: Inside the 2020 Primaries pulls no punches in presenting the challenges of the job -- the long hours, the separation from loved ones, the constant travel -- but it also shows the adrenaline rush and fulfillment the work provides. More experienced correspondents like Dana Bash and Kyung Lah reflect on how far the industry has come since the not-too-distant past when it was dominated by White males, and how the next generation of female journalists are building on this progress with their energy, fearlessness, and determination.
On the Trail: Inside the 2020 Primaries also offers an inside look at what has already become a historic election year. What begins as a frenzied glimpse into the lives of reporters constantly on the go while trying to keep pace with a 24/7 news cycle concludes with quarantine in makeshift home offices. Those who have lived it already know this contrast between the before and after of COVID-19 in their own lives, and this contrast is especially stark against the backdrop of covering campaign politics. And when the Black Lives Matter protests also emerge near the conclusion, it seems to confirm what was probably meant to be the takeaway from the documentary all along: that now, more than ever, reporting the news as it happens is absolutely necessary for a functioning democracy.
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.