Saturday, April 27, 2013

Film Review: Girl Rising

I haven't been posting and I hate that.  It eats away at me when I realize how long it's been since I've kept up with the blog and written down my thoughts.  Know this, that things are constantly on my mind and I always have the intention of getting them to the blog!

The last update posted about how the film was being screened nationwide for a whole week!  Awesome!  My husband and I were able to attend the screening last Wednesday night after trading babysitting evenings with my brother.  It was a date night + education documentary + week/school night = OMG I feel like I'm breaking the law somewhere!  I'm a wild one, I tell ya!

I was very pleased the that audience, especially for a weeknight, had approx 25-30 people.  All women (except my hubby) and several of them were teens - very encouraging.

Here's my brief review/comments about the film:

*It must be kept in mind that the film was PG-13. 
*Though certain things, like trafficking and sexual assault, were discussed or depicted it was all done in a very non-graphic way.  The "heart-wrenching" parts of the girls' stories was in the introduction and provided some background information, but little time was actually spent on depicting graphic images.
*A lot of time was spent on the positive and uplifting parts of the girls stories.
*It was NOT a documentary that left you feeling angry or depressed - "I need to go out and FIGHT for this cause right now!  Something needs to be done!"..ROAR!  It left you with a positive note on how young girls have changed their lives for the better, despite the continuing struggles, and that there are measures people can take to help.
*I really liked how in between each story the narrator (Liam Neeson) briefly discussed data and statistics about girls education and health worldwide and how education of young girls greatly impacts the overall health and development of communities, locally and nationally.  The facts were not so many to be was "just enough" to get an understanding of the importance.

Overall I liked the movie.  Like I said before, it's rated PG-13.  There were apparently women outside the restroom after the movie that my husband said were discussing how it wasn't "enough" in regards to showing the serious offenses that occur to young girls around the world.  I understand what they're saying - it's a very different feeling watching the film while I'm in the middle of reading "Half the Sky" that discusses the chapter on genital cutting and some of the images that get put in my head are graphic enough that I doubt I need to see it in a documentary!  These were obviously women who read and are educated about the misfortunes of young girls, but they didn't keep in mind the film's audience and that set them up for disappointment.

Honestly, I think it's a GREAT film to use as an introduction to a discussion group/book club/organization.  It's even a great tool to bring into the middle/high school classrooms to introduce real-life events that bring attention to world needs.  It could be a great tool to get students to advocate for fundraising opportunities to help other children. 

What had the greatest impact on me?  It's something I've thought about everyday since the film and something I will likely never find an answer to:

Why is it that a right, like the right to be educated, is taken for granted while there are others in the world who still fight for it because in their world it's considered a privilege?  And how can that be changed?  As a school teacher I cannot believe how many students don't value their education.  I cannot believe how many simply take for granted that their supplies will be provided by them by their peers or teacher - they don't arrive at school without a pen/pencil or paper in hand!  Yet there are children and families around the world who will go without food just to spend the money on a piece of paper or one pencil and those supplies are valued like gold!  Those children don't take a single opportunity to take notes or learn a lesson for granted.  This is my biggest pet peeve and my greatest concern.

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