And She Could Be Next

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
And She Could Be Next TV Poster Image
Female candidates persevere in galvanizing, powerful docu.

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Positive Messages

And She Could Be Next encourages viewers to stand up for what they believe in, to defy immoral rules/laws, to fight for racial equality and justice. The documentary also stresses the importance of combating current laws that make it easier for people's voting rights to be restricted. Themes include courage, empathy, and perseverance.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Highlights many women of color who demonstrate impressive perseverance and caring in the face of opposition. The power of representation is underlined, as the series ends with stories of young people who have been inspired to run for office or otherwise work for issued they care about. 

Violence

Archival footage shows panicked crowds pushing people over; violent events are referred to in speeches, sometimes graphically, like when a parent of a student killed at Parkland High School describes her death. Lynchings are referred to in another speech, and we see some news footage about a mass shooting incident in El Paso (though we don't see any of the shootings). 

Sex
Language

Language is infrequent but "ass," "hell," and the n-word all make appearances. "F--k," "s--t," and "bulls--t" are bleeped. A subject repeats hate speech leveled at her campaign: "Go back to Mexico" and "Go back to Africa." 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that And She Could Be Next is a two-part documentary series about the record-breaking number of female candidates who ran for Congress and other state and federal offices in 2018. It focuses on the candidacy of up-and-coming politicians like Rashida Tlaib, Lucy McBath, Veronica Escobar, and Stacey Abrams. The perseverance needed to wage campaigns, particularly against stringent and emotional opposition, is front-and-center, and viewers will also receive strong messages of empathy and courage. Language is occasionally iffy, like when a subject repeats two common strains of hate speech she hears regarding non-white candidates: "Go back to Mexico" and "Go back to Africa." Another subject is called the n-word, and we see a commercial in which a Georgia gubernatorial candidate says he has a big truck unless he needs to round up "criminal illegals." Other language includes "ass," and "hell," while "f--k" and "s--t" are bleeped. Violence is mostly referred to in speeches (like one in which the father of a slain Parkland High School student talks about her murder), but we also see archival footage of protests in which people are pushed down and trampled, and some news coverage of a 2019 mass shooting incident in El Paso (though we don't see any gun violence). Candidates are principled and care deeply about their constituents; we see them demonstrating their empathy and hard work, and hear and see examples of how their representation positively affects marginalized Americans. Viewers may be encouraged to stand up for what they believe in and fight for equality and justice, as well as to vote and otherwise participate in the political process. 

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What's the story?

Taking its cue from the record-breaking crop of non-white, non-male candidates who ran for federal office in 2018, AND SHE COULD BE NEXT hones in on some of the brightest new stars in the political firmament: would-be Georgia governor Stacey Abrams, El Paso Member of Congress Veronica Escobar, Michican Representative Rashida Tlaib, and the people who staff their campaigns. As the candidates hit the trail, they find encouragement and challenges including voter suppression, hate speech, better-funded incumbents, and opposition from those in power. Yet each ultimately finds a place in which she's able to exert influence over the problems she and others like her are suffering through. 

Is it any good?

At the same time galvanizing and reassuring, perhaps this docu's most potent message is the encouraging idea that there are still politicians who actually care about constituents. While the female candidates spotlighted in And She Could Be Next are a diverse lot, what they have in common is the immense passion for issues and people that propelled them into campaigning in the first place. As we watch these women knocking on doors, making phone calls, and speechifying to voters, what's immediately clear is the huge and unified effort it all takes, particularly in the face of hateful opposition. In one shocking moment, we focus in on Stacey Abrams' (ultimately unsuccessful) gubernatorial campaign in Georgia, a state where the Republican front-runner Brian Kemp ran a commercial noting that he drives an extra-big truck "just in case I need to round up criminal illegals and take 'em home myself." And that's far from the worst indignity endured by Abrams and the other candidates in And She Could Be Next. 

And yet, many of And She Could Be Next's subjects ultimately won their battles: Lucy McBath, Veronica Escobar, and Rashida Tlaib are now members of Congress; though Abrams lost her fight in Georgia, her state's notorious voter suppression actions in the 2018 election led her to found voter-empowerment nonprofit Fair Fight. These women are now uniquely positioned to inspire other non-traditional candidates to enter politics, a fact made powerfully clear in a story by Tlaib, who often recalls a young Muslim fan who accepted Tlaib's encouragement to run for office someday with a confident admission that she planned to be President. "Seeing someone who looks like yourself in a position of influence and power, that inspires people," says Bushra Amiwala, the young Muslim woman who made headlines when she was elected to the school board of Skokie, Illinois at just 22, making clear not just the power of representation, but the hope it engenders. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why there has never been a female President or Vice President in the United States. What women have run for major political office, and when? Do women hold major leadership roles in other countries?

  • One of the goals for documentaries is to help viewers understand its subject on a personal or emotional level. Does And She Could Be Next seem to have this goal? Does it achieve it? 

  • What makes Tlaib, Abrams, Escobar and other politicians featured in And She Could be Next role models? How do they demonstrate courageempathy, and perseverance? Why are those important character strengths

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