By Maggie Lorenzen
On Sunday, October 25, the NAACP, HOLA, and ACASA hosted a screening of Magnolia Pictures’ The Fight. An exposé on immigration rights, abortion rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and the census, it is an extremely informational yet intriguing documentary on the issues Americans will be voting for in the upcoming election through their choice of candidate. After the film, the host groups also provided informational sheets with more details of the cases and resources for further research of the cases.
One of the Student Union Theater’s most recent showings, the film follows the work of multiple American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawyers, the cases presented, and the laws amended because of them. Released in July of 2020 and documenting four of the most impactful cases brought against the Trump administration, the film masterfully demonstrates the taxing, behind-the-scenes work of several lawyers charged with representing the oppressed.
Focused on minority rights and threats against their civil liberties, The Fight allows viewers an inside look at the stories behind the laws and amendments and presents the court as a place for the people, by the people. Each case was initiated because of changes from the executive branch beginning in 2016, and each case is followed to its completion, which allows the audience to see, feel, and understand the painstaking process some residents must endure to protect their ways of life. However, the film also depicts the emotions associated with the cases, making the judicial process seem far more human. Worry, frustration, and sorrow are plentiful, however joy is also present in some of the outcomes.
Directors Elyse Steinberg, Josh Kriegman, and Eli B. Despres document the cases from beginning to end. From the possible constitutional violations of preventing transgender people from serving in the military, to preventing illegal immigrants from potentially inalienable rights like the separation of migrant children from their parents at the border, the prevention of abortion services in detainment centers, and the possible addition of the immigration status to the census, their stories are not only shared, but explained. They are given a voice through this film.
A nominee for several awards and winner of two (Sundance Film Festival U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award and Miami Film Festival Knight Documentary Achievement Award), the film constantly switches between cases and lawyers to match the hectic nature of law and lawmaking. Represented beautifully, the film illuminates some of the most pressing and controversial issues brought up during the 2016 Trump administration and encourages viewers, through intense imagery and powerful statements from the plaintiffs and lawyers, to examine their own beliefs on controversial topics.
While biased towards the ACLU, The Fight provides an in-depth view into the hectic and emotional world of civil liberty defense attorneys, while creating a vivid picture of their clients. Informative and intriguing, the film explains the four cases through the lens of the lawyers creating them. It also allows the viewer to see the inner workings of the ACLU, including an explanation of the clients they serve, the issues they back, and the reasonings behind the fights they choose to fight.