Parents' Guide to

The Youth Governor

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Thoughtful docu about model government club for teens.

Movie NR 2022 86 minutes
The Youth Governor Movie Poster

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 6+

Based on 1 parent review

age 6+


Absolutely BEAUTIFUL

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

This film is an interesting, educational look at how students learn the political process through a long-respected organization that teaches teens about running a campaign -- and a state. As one of the adult mentors (who was himself a former California youth governor) explains, participating in YNG -- particularly at the level of an election candidate -- can transform a life. The directors don't explore all facets of YNG, focusing primarily on the gubernatorial race and election. A clear early frontrunner is Aidan Blain, an athlete from Santa Monica who knows how to work a room. His competition includes Piper Samuels, who's from a more politically moderate group and tries to work with a conservative adviser who doesn't want traditionally liberal candidates to forget about the "vocal minority." There's also Bayo Collins, who's from Long Beach and is excited to make his family proud by running for the top job.

Although The Youth Governor doesn't quite offer the pathos or emotional investment of Boys State or Try Harder!, it does shine a light on a venerable organization that provides students with a memorable firsthand experience of how a state's political structure works. The Halmys zero in on some of the more unseemly aspects of the election cycle, like when Piper discovers that antisemitic and misogynistic comments are being made about her (with even uglier plans being made in the event of her victory). Without spoiling the documentary, it's refreshing to see who's willing to help her take down the bigoted bullies. Piper is also open about how being a girl affects how she's perceived and limits her behavior. Meanwhile, Bayo's social media issues reveal how easily the voting public can turn away from an otherwise charismatic candidate. All it takes is one well-timed leak, and poll numbers will suffer. The documentary doesn't judge any of the candidates for how they campaign or what potentially false promises they make. There are no villains or heroes in this film; either of the final two candidates is a viable governor. Perhaps that's why, in the end, the announcement of the winner is slightly anticlimactic: Audiences aren't pushed to root for an obvious favorite. You'll be proud of them all.

Movie Details

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