Parents' Guide to

The Walk

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Well-meaning but uneven desegregation drama has language.

Movie R 2022 105 minutes
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Well-meaning and full of progressive, anti-racist themes, this drama is nevertheless directed like a static after-school special. It's all heavy dialogue, with little emotional involvement or visual flair. The Walk -- not to be confused with the same-named 2015 movie about tightrope walker Philippe Petit -- opens with several slides full of historical data. It's a clunky way to pass on a great deal of information that's essentially about the Supreme Court outlawing segregation and the many years that passed while nothing was being done. And while the movie seems to agree that mandatory busing of kids to other districts wasn't the greatest idea, it doesn't offer any better ones.

Likely modeling itself after Crash, The Walk tries hard to paint its characters in shades of gray, but it also has a need to drive home its messages, resulting in most characters neatly falling on either one or the other side of the line. The most interesting character is Kate, who was raised well by her progressive parents but easily slips into racist behavior anyway. Douglas plays her in a rounded, organic way, but the movie still doesn't quite know what to do with the character or how to explore her. And some of the setups are so laughable -- Pat carrying groceries through a shadowy parking lot at night, for one -- that they negate the scenes' meaning. The big moment -- the first day of school and a violent protest -- feels artificial and clumsy. It's less a history lesson than a sleep "walk."

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