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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The film dispels stereotypes about what it means to be an undocumented resident in the United States and underscores how young people can come together to initiate real change in society. Major themes include compassion, communication, integrity, and empathy.
Positive Role Models
The young people featured here are good students and hard workers who want to be active, contributing members of American society. On the other hand, congressional members and other political leaders are often characterized as being unsupportive of and/or unresponsive to efforts at immigration reform -- unless their jobs are at stake.
Violence & Scariness
The violent suicide of a young man -- the result of his inability to cope with the conditions placed on him as an undocumented resident -- is discussed.
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Products & Purchases
YouTube, Facebook, and other digital media are featured.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Davis Guggenheim's The Dream Is Now is an emotional 30-minute documentary that supports comprehensive immigration reform, including the Dream Act and other legislative and presidential efforts, and openly calls people to come together to support these efforts. The personal stories shared here (including one about a teen suicide) are troubling and may be tough for sensitive viewers to handle, but they're offered within context and as way of countering negative stereotypes about undocumented U.S. residents. The film also sends a strong and positive message about ways in which young people have empowered themselves to promote change. YouTube, Facebook, and other digital media are highlighted as resources to seek help, spread awareness, and mobilize civil action. Young viewers, especially those touched by this issue, might be interested, but it's really intended for teens and adults. (Note: The film is available to stream here.) To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This film successfully challenges many of the preconceived notions people have about what who illegal residents are, what they do, and their impact on society. From Phoenix, Ariz., to Ann Arbor, Mich., The Dream Is Now weaves together the political story behind Congress' inability to pass/agree on immigration reform and the emotional personal narratives of accomplished young adults who were illegally brought into this country as children and aren't being allowed to become contributing members of American society despite being committed to serving the United States in some way. The film also underscores the real challenges that these young people face every day because of their undocumented status: like not having a Social Security number, coping with prevailing stereotypes about who illegal immigrants really are, and living in fear of invasive law enforcement practices and of being deported by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The Dream Is Now -- which takes a clear political position on this hot-button issue -- is a call to action for residents in the United States, legal or otherwise, to mobilize in order to pass the Dream Act and/or other legislation designed to assist the undocumented population in this country. Because of its brief 30-minute time frame, it isn't able to address many of the details surrounding this extremely complicated issue. But it shows how America's young people are willing to come together to change something that's broken.
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.
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