Boys State

Boys State ★★★★½

The front runner of the year has arrived. A fantastic documentary that just dominates at every level- production, subject, storytelling, just an enthralling two hours. It is Lord of the Flies genuinely portrayed through the lens of 2020 politics. The movie subjects to a world of teenage masculinity, identity politics, and the ideologies of a misguided generation of navel-gazing soon-to-be politicians. In the documentation of the week-long mock Texas state government election cycle, the film captures a brilliantly perfect snapshot of what we perceive as being successful politcs in stark juxtaposition to what it means to succeed morally. At one point Robert MacDougall, a texas teenager whose identity lies between Dick Cheney and Tim Riggins, presents the purest evocation of opportunist politics. MacDougall's lack of steadfast beliefs is put in stark contrast with Steven Garza, the moral outlier and underdog aiming to provide genuine public service in our times of insincerity. Another participant, Rene Otero, a black transplant by way of Chicago in a sea of wannabe McCoughnaheys, exemplifies his own form of opportunism in the face of racism and bigotry in antagonism of his Ronald Reagan/Ben Shapiro idolizing political opponent and supposed strategist, Ben Feinstein. Feinstein may be the find of the century, but I could also honestly say that about any of the four main subjects followed in the film. I don't know if I've fully reconciled with how insanely lucky this documentary was to follow these kids and observe this bizarre ritual of American politcs, but they were able to capture something profoundly special and remarkably resonant.