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Director: Amanda McBaine. Jesse Moss.

Runtime: 95 minutes.
Release Date: 04/05/24 [Apple TV+] 

"Follows 500 adolescent girls from all across Missouri as they come together for a week-long immersion in a sophisticated democratic laboratory, where they organize a Supreme Court to consider the most contentious issues of the day."


I hate politics. But, just like death and taxes it’s an inevitable constant in life and keeps the world turning. I find it fascinating how this next generation of young people have chosen to lean in on the importance of politics and understanding how it affects all of our lives now more than ever. 


Girls State takes place in 2022, documenting the week long summer camp style experience. For the first time in its 80 year history, this immersive democratic experience is taking place on the same campus, at the same time as the Boys State experience of the same kind. Inevitably, throughout the unfolding of the story, we will see the comparison of how different the two programs are - including things like expectations and even funding. The young women become no short of infuriated when they learn their counterparts aren’t required to use a “buddy system” or follow a restrictive wardrobe requirement, and the chosen elected Governor in Boys State actually gets sworn in at the end of the process. 


The directors focus on a handful of characters throughout the week, a few running for Governor, a couple for the Supreme Court, and one for Attorney General. Tochi Ihekona for Attorney General and Nisha Murali for Supreme Court were my favorites. They were most focused on the tasks and issues at hand, where some of the other women felt like they were there for possible ulterior motives. I did appreciate Emily Worthmore’s story arc, and her realization that journalism, opposed to politics, is where her passions truly are.


Girls State is an important and necessary follow up to Boys State (2020), giving a platform to young women to vocalize both local and national issues with a feminine lens.  However, it still falls a bit flat at times and seems repetitive overall. It’s a documentary worth the watch for those interested in learning about the program and having the opportunity to witness possible future leaders within our country.

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