Considering today’s social environment where seemingly everything is politicized and any words out of one’s mouth can be interpreted as taking a stance, I was a bit nervous about writing this review for “The Fight.” The film is a documentary centering on the American Civil Liberties Union and the numerous cases they have brought against the Trump administration since the President’s inauguration almost four years ago.
Though the documentary mentions hundreds of cases against the Trump administration over the past several years, the choice was made to focus on four in particular. Those four cases involve child separation at the border between the United States and Mexico, a transgender soldier’s right to serve in the military, a detained immigrant’s right to an abortion and whether or not citizenship could be an option on the 2020 Census.
I was curious to see how “The Fight” would handle these issues; if it would try to present both sides equally in an attempt to remain neutral or if it would take a hardline stance one way or the other.
Ultimately, the film lands somewhere in the middle.
Narratively, “The Fight” doesn’t take sides. There’s no clear point when the film is trying to explicitly force any particular viewpoint on the audience. Instead, it takes a backseat and lets the central figures at the ACLU be the driving force behind the entire production. “The Fight” is less of an analysis of the ACLU and its actions, but rather a fly-on-the-wall perspective of what exactly the organization does. It shows the daily workings of the various lawyers and legal scholars working for the ACLU. By focusing on these four cases, in particular, the film provides the audience an inside look at the inner workings of some of the most socially relevant issues in America.
“The Fight” makes it clear the ACLU doesn’t approach their cases through a left or right leaning perspective. It shows the union is most concerned about whether or not one’s constitutional rights are being violated. While many of the cases the organization takes could be interpreted as more left-oriented, to make a blanket statement that the organization is biased one way or the other would simply be untrue. “The Fight” makes this clear by showcasing several examples where the ACLU’s hard stance on protecting one’s constitutional rights was beneficial to conservatives. On one specific occasion, it even shows how the ACLU’s actions paved the way for allowing the 2017 rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia. While the individuals in the film may detest the opinions of these white supremacists, they said it’s their job to protect freedom of speech.
What “The Fight” arguably does best is provide a testament to the dedication of those at the ACLU.
Through exploring the events and legal proceedings of these four cases, the film makes it incredibly apparent that everyone at the ACLU is committed to the people they’re helping, even to the point where their jobs have basically become their lives. Protecting the rights of others is what they do. It’s real-life heroism that can easily go overlooked.
“The Fight” aims to put a spotlight on the actions of the ACLU and almost serve as a love letter to the people that work there. It doesn’t do this in a cheesy way, or in a way that some may consider to be politically biased or blind. Rather, it highlights the nonstop work the organization does to defend the rights of everyone on both sides of the aisle. It shows that, while there may be a deep divide in our nation right now, there are still good people who are working toward and maintaining a country that is home to liberty and justice for everyone.