JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

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Dawn Porter’s documentary John Lewis: Good Trouble is a stirring tribute to the 80-year-old civil rights hero and Georgia Democratic U.S. representative who eschewed violence while putting his own life on the line during protests in the early ‘60s.

Growing up in Troy, Alabama, where his sharecropper family grew cotton, he wanted to be a minister and delivered sermons to the chickens raised on their farm. Instead, he devoted himself to making sure that he followed his dream by accompanying Martin Luther King Jr. on that fateful march from Selma to Montgomery, where he would suffer a fractured skull after white state troopers attacked the peaceful crowd.

Yes, we get to witness his ongoing commitment and how he can’t walk through the D.C. airport or other common areas without getting his hand shaken or getting a kissed on his cheek. And then there is a reminder of how a video of Lewis bopping along to the song Happy on his birthday went viral.

But the documentary is also a clarion call to warn us that our election this fall, even before coronavirus came into our lives, is in danger of being compromised. Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the presidents who followed continued to support it. But then in 2013, the Supreme Court decided take away the need to have states get federal approval before changing their election laws. That’s how black Democrat Stacey Abrams lost by the teensiest of margins to GOP rival Brian Kemp, who actually oversaw elections in the state as he ran against her.

Lewis, for one, is hopeful. His closing words before the credits roll are “We will create the beloved community. We will get there. I still believe we shall overcome.” We need his brand of good trouble more than ever.

EDITOR’S NOTE: John Lewis: Good Trouble is AWFJ’s Movie of the Week for July 17, 2020

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Susan Wloszczyna

In her nearly 30 years at USA Today, Susan Wloszczyna interviewed everyone from Vincent Price and Shirley Temple to Julia Roberts and Will Smith. Her coverage specialties include animation, musicals, comedies and any film starring Hayley Mills, Sandy Dennis or hobbits. Her crowning career achievements so far, besides having Terence Stamp place his bare feet in her lap during an interview for The Limey, is convincing the paper to send her to New Zealand twice for set visits, once for The Return of the King and the other for The Chronicles of Narnia and King Kong, and getting to be a zombie extra and interview George Romero in makeup on the set for Land of the Dead. Though not impressive enough for Pulitzer consideration, she also can be blamed for coining the moniker "Frat Pack," often used to describe the comedy clique that includes Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell. Her positions have included Life section copy desk chief for four years and a film reviewer for 12 years. She is currently a contributor for the online awards site Gold Derby and is an Oscar expert for Previously, she has been a freelance film reporter and critic, contributing regularly to, MPAA’s The Credits, the Washington Post, AARP The Magazine online and Indiewire as well as being a book reviewer for The Buffalo News. She previously worked as a feature editor at the Niagara Gazette in Niagara Falls, N.Y. A Buffalo native, she earned her bachelor's degree in English at Canisius College and a master's degree in journalism from Syracuse University.