Parents' Guide to

Viral: Antisemitism in Four Mutations

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Uneven but undeniably powerful documentary about hate.

Movie NR 2020 84 minutes
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It could have dug deeper, but this documentary is nonetheless an important attempt at addressing anti-Semitism logically and without anger -- though a certain painful dismay still comes through. Goldberg begins Viral: Antisemitism in Four Mutations with the thesis that anti-Semitism has been growing worse lately, and he provides a little history about discrimination against Jews, showing exaggerated drawings and other propaganda. The movie is clear that, while some people truly hate and fear Jews, others are quick to take advantage of that hate and fear, feeding off of it to gain power. (An interview with a former recruiter for a white supremacist group actually describes the group's horrifying techniques.)

The film includes some amazingly intimate, Michael Moore-like interviews, such as with an openly racist North Carolina political hopeful or with a Hungarian holocaust survivor who shares a bit of Orbán propaganda. In more traditional talking-head interviews, former U.S. president Bill Clinton offers thought-provoking insights, and it's hard not to be moved by the stories of some of the Jewish interviewees, who express disbelief and heartbreak. Unfortunately, Viral lacks a strong conclusion, other than the fact that this is all really awful. Nevertheless, it's a film that should be seen, even if those who need it most likely won't bother.

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