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With: Brigitte Amiri, Joshua Block, Lee Gelernt, Dale Ho, Chase Strangio
Written by: n/a
Directed by: Eli B. Despres, Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for strong language, thematic material and brief violence
Running Time: 96
Date: 07/31/2020

The Fight (2020)

3 Stars (out of 4)

ACLU Are So Beautiful

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The Fight — a documentary co-directed by Eli B. Despres, Josh Kriegman, and Elyse Steinberg, who all worked on the 2016 film Weiner — tells the story of four specific cases fought by the American Civil Liberties Union after the inauguration of Donald Trump in 2017.

They involve an immigrant woman banned from getting a much-needed abortion, a transgender man forced out of the military, immigrant families who were separated, and the proposed addition of the question "are you a U.S. citizen?" on the census form.

The Fight will be featured on the Roxie Theater's Virtual Cinema as well as various other platforms. (See here for details.)

Produced by Kerry Washington, the movie introduces us to a handful of lawyers, Brigitte Amiri, Joshua Block, Lee Gelernt, Dale Ho, and Chase Strangio, depicting them as a ragtag bunch of fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants misfits, tattooed, slightly befuddled by technology, and sometimes quite funny. ("Train wine!" proclaims one while riding home after a win.)

The Fight has an understandable left-leaning bias, but it tries very hard to feel even and fair, focusing on the right thing to do, rather than the political thing to do.

For balance, it devotes a small section to the battles the ACLU has fought for right-wing causes. There's even a powerful sequence in which the lawyers read their hate mail, trying to laugh it off, but still a little wounded. ("If you don't look at the negative stuff, then you're in your own bubble," says one.)

Indeed, The Fight is an unwelcome reminder of the seething hate that exists in the world today, but also a welcome reminder of the good souls that occupy the first line of defense.

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