REVIEW: ‘LFG’ is a War Cry for Equality

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LFG

LFG aka “Let’s F*cking Go” is an HBO Max original documentary coming June 24th, which depicts the US Women’s National Soccer teams’ fight for equal pay, and equal respect on the field. The film couldn’t come at a better time, with football/soccer hype at peak interest in the US, and across the globe, as UEFA Euro 2020 (aka 2021) rages on, the Copa America is in full swing, the MLS season is also in session, and the US Women’s National Team finishes up their pre-Olympic road to the Tokyo games. As a football/soccer fan, it’s a glorious time right now. This is why it’s so apt that this documentary has dropped when it has. You might think it was fortuitous timing, I’d say it was a well-thought-out and executed master plan. Now is the perfect time to bring the historic fight for equality back into the limelight.

Directed and produced by Andrea Nix Fine and Sean Fine, LFG takes a behind-the-scenes look at the historic point in time when the US Women’s National team sued the United States Soccer Federation for the right to earn equal pay with the men’s team, and for gender discrimination. This hard-hitting, and emotional documentary gives an in-depth look at how the 28 women rallied together to confront their employers and demanded to be seen and treated with respect.

Before I dive too deep into this, my piece is not my attempt to argue for or against, but on the record, yes they should absolutely be paid equally, and not discriminated against for simply being women. I have personally watched this team since around 2011/12 and I can attest to the quality of football/soccer they play, and how they pack their stadiums. With all that said, this piece is merely intended to review the effectiveness of the documentary itself.

The documentary is divided into three segments, personal testimony from key players, and people important to the overall narrative, actual historical footage of the events as they happened, and then finally spliced footage showing evidence of the matches, or statistics that bolster the case. The argument made on the case of the players is that not only are they underpaid in comparison to the men for the same job (unequal pay), but the USSF is also actively not giving the women’s team the same resources they give the men’s team (gender discrimination).

LFG does a brilliant job of laying all of the facts on the table from the experience of the people who it actually affects, the women of the team. The film begins with the introduction of the raw truth, a lot of these players aren’t making a living by being professional football/soccer players, and oftentimes they have to sacrifice a lot more, for a lot less.

There so much evidence involved to show the success of this team, not only in winning major tournaments, but dominating these matches, and doing it in style. As the film progresses and they reach the trial segment, again, the narrative clearly displays what the arguments were against the women’s team, but is clearly shown to debunk all of these arguments and highlights the perception of the facts to be misleading. The main points of contention are revenue earned, stadium attendance, TV views, and overall the success of the team. Throughout the documentary the point is made, the women are getting less while doing more.

During one point for example the US women’s national team actually earned more pay than the men, which was true, however, it was wildly misleading. Simply because during that period in time the men failed to qualify for the World Cup, while the women played significantly more games than the men.  These messages are reinforced with impassioned vigor on multiple occasions, for women to prove their worth they have to be twice as successful as men, and it’s just bloody heartbreaking, and INFURIATING.

The testimony piece is maddeningly compelling, and if you watch the documentary you’ll see why. The key players involved with the video testimony for LFG are Megan Rapinoe, Jessica McDonald, Becky Sauerbrunn, Kelley O’Hara, Sam Mewis, and Christen Press. The women give rousing accounts of their personal experiences as international football/soccer players each one striking a different tone that adds to the overall purpose of the documentary, i.e. we demand equality and respect.

One of the most notable pieces of testimony is that of Jessica McDonald, who as a black woman documents her struggle to make it professionally, but then the struggle to continue playing at the professional level. She notes her sacrifices of being away from her son, having to stay in motels, scraping pennies to survive, and watching her colleagues around her drop out because they can see that the USSF (United States Soccer Federation) isn’t fostering a working environment that supports mothers. McDonald even highlights that while playing in North Carolina, she is living with another family who isn’t related to her, and this came at a time when she needed it most for her career. This woman is a celebrated professional athlete.

There is a lot to unpack from LFG, and more than I can cover from one review, but the one-hour and 45-minute documentary does a great job in present the issue, highlight the facts, and showing the human impact.

The footage of the events over time is both inspiring and crushing all at once. The testimony by the players and the key people involved in the case evokes such a personal reaction, and empathy to the struggle. This team of ferocious women banded together to not only fight the system, but to also do their jobs, and damn they do it with panache. The film itself is such a brilliant watch that gives you an inside look at how the USWNT fight for equality played out with the ultimate conclusion caught on camera. LFG is a compelling documentary, and whether you’re a football/soccer fan or not, I urge you to watch this.

LFG is available on exclusively HBO Max now.

LGF
  • 8.5/10
    Rating - 8.5/10
8.5/10

TL;DR

LFG is a compelling documentary, and whether you’re a football/soccer fan or not, I urge you to watch this.