A MUST WATCH: The Trial of the Chicago 7

After a long weekend, I decided to indulge in some Netflix. The first title that popped up was The Trial of the Chicago 7. As someone who is intrigued by conversations about social justice, I decided to give it a go. And might I say, I am so happy I did. Not only did this two-hour historical film make me giggle and have me on the verge of tears, but it also made my blood boil as it depicts the reality of the counterculture movements of the 1960s in a compelling, raw, and relevant light.   

 

Set in 1968 during the beginning of Lydon B. Johnson’s administration, the film is characterized by the heightened tension between the US government and its citizens. Not only is it set directly after the assassination of Martin Luther King and at the peak of the Black Panther Party, but it is also during the Vietnam War. The Chicago 8 turned 7, Tom Hayden, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Rennie Davis, John Froines, David Dellinger, and Bobby Seale, all represent the different AntiVietnam factions. While I don’t want to spoil the whole plot, I do think it is important to highlight how relevant this film is. From mass protests to racial inequality to holes in the American justice system, the social unrest in The Trial of the Chicago 7 mirrors today’s society in a lot of ways. It’s almost scary how relevant the facts of the film are. Overall, the plot of this film poses questions beyond the topic of the Chicago 7 like, has America made the progression we are conditioned to think it has? Could the release of this film at such a salient time in American history signify that we are, once again, on the brink of a cultural revolution?

 

Nonetheless, while this movie isn’t one of the mind-numbing watches that most of us like to relax with, it is worth every bit of the two hours. Everything from Abbie Hoffman’s (played by Sacha Baron Cohen) witty comments to the jarring imagery of Bobby Seale gagged in the courtroom will have you glued to the television screen. And you’ll most likely end up Googling which parts of the film are exaggerated, where the seven are now, and even what they looked like.