Knock Down the House

Posted by Mary Hendra on April 29, 2019

Sometimes we think of learning how to be an upstander from those who have achieved amazing success.  I had the opportunity to see an early screening of Knock Down the House - releasing May 1, 2019 on Netflix - and it has me thinking instead of all we can learn from those who stand up, not knowing whether or not they will even succeed.  In this week's blog for our season of upstanding (#LAUpstander), I’d love to hear your thoughts on upstanding in film and what we learn from those upstanders whose success is by no means guaranteed.  

Knock Down the House follows four “insurgent candidates” as they take on established office holders in the 2018 election, but it isn’t just the story of four candidates. It really starts with a grassroots movement to change representation in this country.  With an appeal to crowdsource nominations for new candidates, voices emerge as representatives of real Americans who had not ever run for office - some had never even considered public office. 

After the film, one of the candidates featured, Amy Vilela, noted “our politicians are not public celebrities, but public servants.” It is a perspective that permeates the film.

Knock_Down_The_House_00_41_15_03This is not a battle of Democrat v. Republican.  All four candidates are long shots, running against well-funded, well-known names in their primaries.  It therefore shifts the conversation from an oversimplified bipolar dichotomy, to the complexity of a range of views that is the more realistic human condition.  In doing so, it makes space for even more voices for change.

After the screening, the director Rachel Lears shared that she hopes people take from it the opportunity to find strength within: all four candidates had been through something much tougher than running for Congress.  Amy added, win or lose, “we changed the debate.” 


Join the conversation by sharing your comments below:

  • What films have inspired you in your thinking about Upstanding?
  • If you watch Knock Down the House, who did you find most inspiring and why? what ideas would you want young people to take away from this film?

Is "upstander" a new idea for you? Learn more by joining our #LAUpstander Campaign!

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Topics: Film, Upstanders, Upstander

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