Parents' Guide to

Parkland Rising

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Poignant, intense docu about gun safety activists.

Movie NR 2020 92 minutes
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This film is a powerful chronicle of how the Parkland survivors rallied together to inspire America's youth to rethink laws that affect everyone. Filmmaker Cheryl Horner's interviews with the MSD students and parents are simultaneously heartbreaking and inspiring. This isn't the first documentary about a school shooting -- nor is it even the first about Parkland -- but it does a fine job of exploring how and why a few of the movement's key figures felt compelled to speak out and do more. Hogg explains that he initially got involved because of his little sister, a ninth grader whose best friends died the day of the shooting. He's since been one of the most vocal members of the Never Again MSD and March for Our Lives movements. Oliver and his wife, Patricia, share how their son Joaquin's life and death spurred them to create Change the Ref, a nonprofit dedicated to lobbying for gun safety and using art (particularly murals) to demand change.

The interviews in Parkland Rising aren't limited to the Olivers and the Hoggs. Horner branches out to talk to teachers and more than a dozen students who used their platform to shine a light on ongoing gun violence, as well as the ways in which the NRA keeps lobbying lawmakers to keep gun laws lenient. The film also makes clear that the students aren't against the Second Amendment or responsible gun use, no matter how easily their message is skewed by pro-gun demonstrators. Horner includes some good-faith, impromptu conversations between the students and some opposing demonstrators as a counterpoint to the unsettling, disturbing moments when others wave signs calling for the students' deaths (not to mention footage from videos in which people use Hogg's photo for target practice). It's always appreciated to be reminded how students can make a difference.

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