Parents' Guide to

The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson

By Renee Longstreet, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Compelling docu traces decades-old LGBTQ fight for justice.

Movie NR 2017 105 minutes
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A mysterious death is the lens through which award-winning documentarian David France focuses his perceptive eye on the continuing fight for justice by the LGBTQ community. France uses history to illuminate the present. Marsha P. Johnson's story is the through-line of the film. However, it isn't as much her life that is explored as the lives and purpose of those who joined her in her efforts, and those who came after her. Victoria Cruz is a particularly strong advocate; her resolve to provide closure to a community is admirable. By spending some time on the 2016 murder of NY transgender woman Islan Nettles, the film ups the ante and provides context for the outrage surrounding her death and the light sentence her killer received.

The film is not without flaws. The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson isn't always structured in the most cohesive way, and Marsha's life isn't at its center. Still, the message is absolutely clear. Lots for older teens and parents to discuss.

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