Parents' Guide to

The Legend of the Underground

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Powerful docu about discrimination in Nigeria; violence.

Movie NR 2021 86 minutes
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This is a gut-wrenching, powerful, and inspiring documentary on being true to oneself despite persecution from others. The Legend of the Underground is a documentary that looks at people who don't conform to traditional gender and sex roles in Nigeria, a country where homosexuality is a crime punishable by fourteen years in prison. In fact, the documentary shows what happens when men accused of homosexuality are arrested and await trial, and how that alone can ruin lives, or force them into exile. And yet, in the midst of this conservative country's oppression from the government and churches, and the bullying and cyberbullying of its citizens, what emerges through all of this ugliness is a celebration of individuality and bravery in the face of so much persecution.

It's a documentary that highlights the power of activism to bring change, and how social media can be used as a force for good. The documentary doesn't sugarcoat the difficult choices these men face between living in exile in a faraway country such as the United States or remaining in Nigeria and facing the constant threat of arrest. It also shows the power of community -- locally and globally -- to turn the tide against the forces of hatred, and how the idea of family can take on a whole new meaning when one's biological family has chosen to reject one of its own because of who they are. Despite the painful loss and difficulties shown in the documentary, there's an understated optimism that runs throughout the course of it, as well as a technicolor celebration of individuality, no matter the cost.

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