John Lewis Good Trouble - Movie Review

By Monica Sullivan

In the 1960’s, Life Magazine used to run articles about what was happening down South and for a Catholic school kid in California, the articles were a horrifying shock.  One of the articles featured John Lewis, who was nearly killed when a policeman tried to break up a peaceful march by cracking his skull open.  I couldn’t imagine him surviving such a blow, but survive he did and he outlived many of his contemporaries, many of whom were much bigger and stronger than him: Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcom X, and yet he endured.  He spoke at the March On Washington, and after watching many other documentaries and not finding any footage of John Lewis, I was surprised to find one of his speeches in Dawn Porter’s new film, “John Lewis: Good Trouble”.

I was also unfamiliar with the ins and outs of his troubled relationship with the late Julian Bond when John Lewis was campaigning against him for the Congressional seat he now holds.  Bond’s history with drugs was exposed by the media and their tight relationship ended after John Lewis won the election.  Julian Bond had been a shining star of the era. 

Lewis’ work for civil rights was consistent but less flashy than some of his contemporaries.  His survival despite many obstacles won him a permanent place in many people’s heats and minds.  A 2016 appearance in the Capitol building at night found Lewis, Nancy Pelosi, and many other Congressional leaders having a sit-in on the House floor protesting the lack of gun control legislation.  It was clear that Lewis’ long history was a driving force with the rest of the group and it showed how much his inspiration meant to his colleagues.  This film is long overdue and shows why Lewis means so much to so many people including me.
   © 2020 - Monica Sullivan - Air Date: 07/01/20
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