‘John Lewis: Good Trouble’ is engaging documentary

Movies

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 15: U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) (R) is presented with the 2010 Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama during an East Room event at the White House February 15, 2011 in Washington, DC. Obama presented the medal, the highest honor awarded to civilians, to twelve pioneers in sports, labor, politics and arts. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

It seems he lived several lifetimes in his 80 years.

“John Lewis: Good Trouble” does a terrific job of paying tribute – with the help of archival footage and people who knew him – to the late Georgia congressman and civil rights activist.

Director Dawn Porter shows Lewis through the ages – his ages – in his professional and personal life.

Interviews with Lewis himself are perhaps the most revealing, as he discusses how he became involved with non-violent activism in Nashville where he joined the anti-segregation movement. He remembers when he was attacked and beaten when he marched in Selma, Alabama. He was one of the original Freedom Riders, challenging racial segregation laws in the 1960s.

He also was at the Ambassador Hotel when Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated.

Always, a major focus is protecting Americans’ abilities to vote.

He takes a kind of trip back in time while he looks at a variety of photos of himself from his past – some of them pictures he had not seen before.

I loved watching the way people react to Lewis, giving him credit for their careers to his wisdom and the dignity he shared with those he met. Other politicians sing the praises of a colleague, mentor and dear friend.
Watch how people’s faces light up just because they are in his presence. Watch him while people stop him at an airport to take his picture and shake his hand: It’s a rock-star moment.

There’s a scene in a parking lot, where Lewis, the son of sharecroppers in Troy, Alabama, shares memories of picking cotton as a child with a woman who has similar memories.

Often, he encouraged people not be afraid to “make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”

He was one for the ages, and this movie will ensure generations to come understand his work and continue to listen to his voice.

4 out of 4 stars

Rated: PG for racial slurs.

Running time: One hour and 36 minutes.

On streaming platforms.

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