Parents' Guide to

Surge

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Inspiring docu urges women to run for office; some language.

Movie NR 2020 93 minutes
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This documentary succeeds in capturing a significant moment in women's history while also hopefully inspiring more women to get involved with politics, from voting on up. Through the eyes of the three featured candidates, viewers relive the moments that led up to the first Women's March in January 2017, connecting the protest against newly elected President Trump to the "pink wave" that subsequently dominated election ballots. In the 2018 midterms, more women were elected than ever before in the House, Senate, and gubernatorial races. And the diversification went beyond gender, extending to religion, sexuality, age, and ethnicity. While Republican women candidates also won, Surge chooses to focus on three female Democrats who faced an extra hurdle: flipping their respective districts from historically dark red to blue.

Sanchez, Watson, and Underwood face uphill battles to beat incumbent White men in Republican strongholds. One district is seemingly so cemented as conservative that the Democratic National Committee won't financially support their own party's candidate. The incumbents aren't shown doing much to combat their competitors, although it's suggested that one uses some racist dog-whistling. Ultimately, Surge gives viewers the opportunity to experience what it's like to run for office, and while all the hard work that goes into a campaign is reflected, it still feels less daunting after watching. In projecting a spirit of "you can do it," it may lead some viewers to feel that the movie's real message is "you should do it."

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