If I have a political kindred spirit right now it’d be junior congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, which is why I was wildly excited for her to be at Sundance for the documentary she appears in, Rachel Lears’ Knock Down the House. Unfortunately, it was also during the government shutdown and AOC (because we’re close like that) wisely chose not to be seen in the posh surroundings of Park City at the time. As someone who believes we need a political revolution in this country this doc had me from jump street, as it follows four powerful, determined progressive women as they seek to light a much-needed spark under the Democratic Party.
AOC might be the biggest name of the bunch as she’s become a lightning rod for insecure men over on Fox, but all of these women are strong and deserving of attention. The awesomely-named Paula Jean Swearingen who took on West Virginia mainstay Joe Manchin is one of the candidates highlighted in Lears’ doc, along with upstarts Cori Bush and Amy Vilela. All of them were frustrated by a political system that leaves behind too many and only caters to special interests, each bringing a different perspective driven by their life experience.
Here’s the official synopsis: Four exceptional women mount grassroots campaigns against powerful incumbents in Knock Down the House, an inspiring look at the 2018 midterm elections that tipped the balance of power. When tragedy struck her family in the middle of the financial crisis, Bronx-born Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had to work double shifts as a bartender to save her home from foreclosure. After losing a loved one to a preventable medical condition, Amy Vilela didn’t know what to do with the anger she felt about America’s broken health care system. Cori Bush, a registered nurse and pastor, was drawn to the streets when the police shooting of an unarmed black man brought protests and tanks into her neighborhood. A coal miner’s daughter, Paula Jean Swearengin was fed up with watching her friends and family suffer from the environmental effects of the coal industry.
Knock Down the House hits Netflix on May 1st.