Review by Dan Skip Allen
AL Boys State and ALA Girls State are leadership programs that gather together over the summer. Usually, seventeen-year-olds get nominated from their schools and then go off each summer from each state that has an American Legion. The American Legion has strict rules for who they let go off to Boys State and Girls State. These young men and women will become the future leaders of our country.
Boys State features a bunch of teenagers that congregate during the summer in Austin, Texas. They try to form their own mock government at the summer retreat. Two parties, the Federalists and the Nationalists, are formed from over a thousand seventeen-year-old boys. These boys vote each other into offices from each party. The boys range from all walks of life, religious backgrounds, and sexual orientations. All these differences aside, these young men have a very good grasp on government and legislation that goes into making laws and running a government.
The future leaders and politicians of our country come from the Boys State summer retreats. The ranks of politicians that have attended these retreats include many congressmen, senators, judges, and governors of our country. They are making policy and laws every day in every state across the United States of America. They received their leadership skills and molding like so many others before them.
Watching this documentary was an eye-opening experience. It says a lot about our youth and what's going through their minds, especially what hot button topics are at the forefront for them. The Second Amendment was a big one of contention during the film. Who should or shouldn't have guns? In Texas, this is a very important issue. With all the violence that has been going on around the country, this will remain a hot button topic for weeks and months to come.
Directors Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss give an eye-opening look at the youth of our country. They go in-depth on the process in Boys State. They get inside the heads of these boys and some of the stuff they say and do isn't that easy to digest. Texas isn't the most liberal state. These boys had to get their ideas from somebody (most likely their parents). Some of these boys have quite the agenda and plans for themselves. These aren't your everyday normal teenagers. They are trying to build a big future for themselves and some succeed in doing so.
Boys State isn't just one of the best docs that came out of Sundance this year, it's one of the best docs of the year. Some may say it's one of the best films of the year. With the limited supply of films that would be a pretty good assessment. Great docs have a great message and Boys State definitely has that. If people agree or disagree with it that's their prerogative. This is a great look at politics from the point of view of our youth. Some of them are motivated to get their thoughts out into the public. Boys State is the way to do that. This country is definitely in interesting hands in the future.
Boys State is now streaming on Apple TV+.