On July 3, 2020 I saw a screening of the new John Lewis documentary JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE (2020), produced by Magnolia Pictures, I am saddened that my scheduled review of the documentary would be released one day after his passing. Nonetheless, I am honored to have had to opportunity to get up-close and personal with Lewis, via this documentary.
JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE (2020) is simply brilliant! From the moment the film begins and we see Lewis walk into an almost empty auditorium, for what would be his private viewing of images and video related to this documentary, we know we are in for a special treat.
As he gently sits on the stage, looking up towards the black & white images as they flash across the screen, he admits he has never seen many of the images before. However, you quickly come to understand his in-depth knowledge of the moments the images were captured more than 60 years prior. He asks the theatre technician to pause an image for a moment. Lewis then states, “I’ve never seen this photo before. You see the man standing next to me? He’s got his hand up to his nose because he knows we are getting ready to be gassed.”
JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE fast forward and rewinds us back and forth 60 plus years throughout Congressman John Robert Lewis’ life. We are afforded the opportunity to walk with him through the halls of the US Congress, the streets of Washington D.C., his private home, and then back to his childhood farm where, as he says, “As a child, I wanted to be a preacher SO bad, that I’d gather the chickens around and I’d preach to the chickens!” Lewis laughs and goes on… “Yes, my siblings wouldn’t sit long enough to listen to me. So I’d preach to those chickens.” He laughs some more.
Through the age of 80 he preached a new message to the world from his seat in the US Congress. And his message is simple. “Go out and get into some good trouble!” Lewis would say. And with these words, Lewis told us to not be afraid to speak up and spark the kind of trouble that will cause positive change in our society and world.
In JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE (2020) the film’s Director, Dawn Porter (Trapped (2016) – Gideons Army (2013), along with Producers: Erika Alexander, Ben Arnon and Laura Michalchyshyn, do an excellent job of not only getting up-close and personal with Congressman Lewis, who represented the 5th District of Georgia, they are able to capture the true sense of Lewis’ character. We witness how Lewis sincerely cared, not only for the public, but for those who worked for and served him in private. We watch the gentle way in which he addressed his personal executive assistants, drivers and staff, giving back to them equal, if not more, service than they rendered unto him.
JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE (2020) chronicles Lewis’ 60-plus years of social activism and legislative action on issues including: civil rights, voting rights, gun control, health-care reform and immigration. The film co-stars, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Henry Louis Gates Jr. Corey Booker, ILhan Omar, Nancy Pelosi, Eric Holder, Michael Collins, Jamila Thompson, Beto O’Rourke and Stacey Abrams. Rare images and video footage of Julian Bond, Lyndon B. Johnson, Malcolm X, Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. are also contained within the documentary as well.
US Congressman and Representative, John Robert Lewis passed away on July 17, 2020, at age 80. He was a key figure and confidante of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. And through this film, we learn the very private details of exactly how he and King met after unknown activist; Lewis wrote Dr. King a personal letter. King would later invite Lewis for a private meeting eventually adopting Lewis into his inner-circle with Lewis ultimately becoming one of Dr. King’s most trusted confidants and advocates of the non-violent philosophy and Civil Rights Movement.
JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE (2020) is a great historical film about US Congressman and Representative, John Robert Lewis (February 21, 1940 – July 17, 2020). It is a documentary people of all races should see along with their children. It will be the best “GOOD TROUBLE” you’ll ever watch.
– DeAlan Wilson
“Thank you Congressman John Robert Lewis for your life of service and for teaching us all how not only to serve our Nation, but how to serve one another and GOD. May you forever Rest in Peace. AMEN.” – DeAlan Wilson (Saturday, July 18, 2020)