All In: The Fight For Democracy is a political documentary by Stacy Abrams, the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial candidate whose loss was marred by widespread and seemingly deliberate voter suppression, supervised in part by her opponent, then-Secretary of State Brian Kemp. The documentary is directed by Liz Garbus and Lisa Cortés, written by Jack Youngleson, and is distributed by Amazon Studios.
The United States’ history of voter suppression goes back to the writing of the Constitution itself, where only land-owning white men of a certain age were enfranchised. That constituted 3 percent of the country’s population during George Washington’s first election bid. All in: The Fight For Democracy expertly traces the history of voter suppression from the Founding Fathers to the 15th Amendment, Reconstruction, and the 19th Amendments, to Jim Crow laws, the KKK, the Mississippi Plan, and through the Civil Rights Movement to the voter ID laws, voter roll purges, and anti-mail-in ballot initiatives of today. All along the way, activists, leaders, and historians draw parallels between each moment in the country’s repressive history to the injustices wrought today.
The real power though of All In: The Fight For Democracy doesn’t come from the harrowing statistics, the damning facts, or the ample historical footage juxtaposed to mirror images from this year alone. The film’s power comes from Stacy Abram’s story itself. From the first few minutes of the film alone, it is impossible to deny the power of her storytelling.
The film opens with her 2018 non-concession speech, an awe-inspiring condemnation fo her state and our nation’s broken electoral system. Throughout the rest of the film, Abrams narrates stories from her own life and family history that track the slow march of progress in the history of universal suffrage while also demonstrating sharply the national tragedy of voter suppression. These stories are also beautifully animated in a hand-drawn collage-style throughout the film. The animations add to the emotional depth as they are interspersed with historical and modern footage to break up the monotony of watching each narrator speak from behind a table and an otherwise empty room.
The documentary covers virtually every aspect of its subject’s nearly 250-year history. It is as perfect a starting point for learning about voter suppression and its effects as it is an in-depth learning opportunity for people at the forefront of political whereabouts. I only wish the documentary was more explicit about ways individuals can help support the movement to end voter suppression.
Since her loss in 2018, Abrams has led a national effort, Fair Fight, to fight on every front against voter suppression. For such a powerful documentary to end in somewhat of a whimper feels like a wasted opportunity. After captivating its audience with devastating facts and anecdotes through on of the most foremost and prolific loving emblems of the danger of voter suppression, I wish All In: The Fight For Democracy ended with a rallying cry to support Fair Fight and provided tangible ways to do so. It does leave viewers with a message to register to vote l, check your registration, and make sure you have your friends and family do the same. But with perhaps the most consequential election in U.S. history Just around the corner, I hoped for a stronger, more explicit final message.
Nonetheless, All In: The Fight For Democracy offers an essential, timely look at one of the most critical failures of U.S. democracy. The opening segment stretches on too long before introducing the names of the speakers and becomes confusing as it seemingly ends after a few minutes only to go on for another several, rushing through numerous essential topics. After the introduction though, until its insufficient conclusion, the documentary is flawless and should be included among essential viewing lists.
To learn more about Fair Fight and how to support their efforts fighting against voter suppression, visit their website www.fairfight.com. To register to vote or check your or others’ voter registrations, visit www.vote.org.
All In: The Fight For Democracy is available for streaming on Amazon September 18.
All In: The Fight For Democracy
All In: The Fight For Democracy offers an essential, timely look at one of the most critical failures of U.S. democracy. The opening segment stretches on too long before introducing the names of the speakers and becomes confusing as it seemingly ends after a few minutes only to go on for another several, rushing through numerous essential topics. After the introduction though, until its insufficient conclusion, the documentary is flawless and should be included among essential viewing lists.