MVFF 2020: Us Kids Review

MVFF 2020: Us Kids Review

This will be one of many reviews during this year’s Mill Valley Film Festival, to keep up with our latest coverage, click here.

There have been no shortage of documentaries covering 2018’s tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Although the event is very harrowing to reflect on, it lead to a significant shift in the state of America’s gun control policies. From that point on, the activists that survived the tragedy have remained in the public eye, and justifiably so. However, Us Kids is certainly the definitive documentary on the event – one that not only conveys the emotional trauma so gracefully, but one that teaches us how to move forward.

Perhaps these activist’ biggest contribution to society has been the March For Our Lives rally. The way Us Kids gives each individual emotional context creates such a stronger resonance in the viewer. It’s easy to assume that this type of thing can cause long lasting trauma, but the intimate perspectives we gain from them in this film is truly powerful and life affirming. In addition, the moments where the film reminds viewers that these people are still kids – wishing they were at summer camp, singing along to smash mouth and still prioritizing school among all of the chaos – make it truly special.

However, the most effective part of Us Kids is certainly the structure – which more so questions our future than our past. The focus on how we should move forward in light of these incidents that happen way too often allows this to be truly moving. The true enthusiasm of the subjects is infectious, and creates a desire in the viewer to do better as well.

In the end, the way that the film gives us something to chew on emotionally truly allows Us Kids to be one of the year’s most moving films.

still courtesy of Sundance

Follow me on twitter @daniel_azbel and on letterboxd @danthemovieman.

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