Trial of the Chicago 7 is eye-opening view of history
April 4, 2021
The Trial of the Chicago 7 is an eye-opening period piece directed by Aaron Sorkin that reenacts the public push to end the controversial Vietnamese war. Seven young men who were arrested for protesting during the Democratic convention came to be known as the “Chicago 7,” or as they were called by the the U.S. Attorney General John Mitchel, the “school boys.”
The movie starts off with very useful background information that helps the viewer understand why the war was so controversial, such as President Lyndon B. Johnson doubling the number of people being drafted to roughly 420,000, as well as the troubled years leading up to the trial which were marked by the assassination of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr.
The trial takes place in 1969 at a time when it seemed like the whole world was watching. If you’ve ever dreamed about what a dystopian society would look like, consider this movie as the closest real modern version of that. This legal thriller and an inspiring story follows war protesters Rennie Davis, Tom Hayden, Jerry Rubin, Abbie Hoffman, David Dellenger, Lee Weiner and John Froines through their struggle to protest peacefully in a trial lasting over 100 days. In addition to the seven activists being tried, there was an additional defendant named Bobby Seale, the National Chairman of the Black Panther Party.
The movie covers many unrecognized or ignored issues such as racism, injustice and legal bias, jury manipulation and more. Even if you don’t understand law terms such as defendant, attorney, acquittal, and appeal, this movie has riot scenes and plenty of shock appeal to knock your socks off. (The best shock element is at the very end of the movie, so keep an eye out.)
Hippies have largely been put down as “flower children” and then forgotten about, but are they really all as weak as the stereotypes lead us to believe? This movie may change your mind. The leaders of the Yippies (Youth International Party), Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman, are a funny combo who turn out to be deeper than their cover personalities. These two are recreational smokers and often joke in serious situations sure, but they catch on to the corruption around them faster than most of the Chicago 7.
The two hours and 10 minutes of this movie are well worth your time. The overall nail-biting, need-to-know and edge-of-your-seat adrenaline will make you feel that the movie was only five minutes long.
I strongly recommend this movie to anyone. Whether it’s the riot scenes, historical detail, character development, discussion of race relations, or the shock of seeing legal figures committing wrong doings against the Constitution, it will keep your attention. Note there is graphic violence and very strong language throughout the entire movie. I hope you enjoy the movie as much as I did, and remember that then as now, the whole world is watching.