“The Trial of the Chicago 7” Review

Story posted October 20, 2020 in CommRadio, Arts & Entertainment by Alina Lebedeva, Emily McGlynn

Director Aaron Sorkin chose just the right time to demonstrate the events that took place in the United States throughout the 1960s in a full-length film.

"The Trial of the Chicago 7" is a historical drama that focuses on the court case against seven representatives of counterculture movements and anti-Vietnam War opposition.

In late August of 1968, tensions were high. President Johnson was stepping down from reelection, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and American citizens were fed up with war.

Many different groups had various opinions about these subjects.

What is the best way to speak up? Protest.

And where is the best place to do so? The Democratic National Convention.

The opening scene only gives the audience a little bit of insight of what they are about to watch. Someone who has never learned of these events might be a little confused.

But even for those who have heard of these events before, the mystery that the first scene presents leaves viewers wanting more.

As the movie progresses, it answers questions that were left in the very beginning. 

A unique trait this movie has is the flashbacks. Sorkin presents these flashbacks in a way that not many have seen before.

As people are on the stand describing their stories, the scenes of what really happened are played over. This cinematography is insightful, and audiences can decide the verdict.

Sorkin also did an amazing job as the screenwriter by providing viewers with accurate historical facts and the essential details about the motives of each protestor. Audiences will notice that the Sorkin and the production team did their research.

The defendants pictured in the movie belong to three different dissident organizations: "National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam" (also known as "the Mobe”), "The Youth International Party," commonly called the "Yippies;” and the "Black Panther Party."

The film has an outstanding cast, including Sacha Noam Baron Cohen in the role of Abbie Hoffman, the notorious co-founder of the "Yippies,” and Eddie Redmayne playing Tom Hayden, a member of "the Mobe" coalition.

The lead actors managed to display the complicated characters of their protagonists by emphasizing their political views and life perspectives.

The accused member of "The Black Panther," Bobby Seale, claims not to be a part of the organized demonstrations in Chicago, Illinois. The Bobby Seale character is performed by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who illustrates the protestor as a quite controversial figure.

Watching the movie, the viewers can see that while the members of "the Mobe" had a peaceful approach to the protests, the "Yippies" had much more revolutionary vision and aims. Viewers can also gain insight on other side of the aisle with the Judge and the intention of the federal government.

Overall, "The Trial of the Chicago 7" is a thought-provoking film that appeals to viewers' emotions and makes them choose sides. In many ways, it shows that the common opinions of the main social groups and the issues demonstrated in the movie are still relevant nowadays.

As George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Rating: 4/5

Alina Lebedeva is a freshman majoring in telecommunications. To contact her, email at axl5837@psu.edu .

Emily McGlynn is a freshman majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact her, email at esm5378@psu.edu

About the Contributors

Alina Lebedeva's photo

Alina Lebedeva

Second-year / Telecommunications

Alina Lebedeva is a second-year student from Moscow, Russia. She is a writer and photographer for the CommRadio. Her works include album and film reviews, and sports and lifestyle photography. If you’d like to contact her, email her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Emily McGlynn's photo

Emily McGlynn

Third-year / Broadcast Journalism

Emily McGlynn is a third-year from Birmingham, Michigan majoring in broadcast journalism at Penn State. She is the Co-General Manager alongside Alex Rocco and Dylan Price. She is involved in the news, arts and entertainment, sports and production department. In the news department, she is one of the news producers. She frequently writes reviews for the Arts Department as well. Listening to music, watching movies, and staying updated with news and pop culture are some of her favorite things to do. To contact her, email her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).