“The final reels of this film feel like a Rocky movie.”
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Then, as the music builds, a series of jump cuts lay out the seemingly impossible odds of Ocasio-Cortez’s victory: She’s the bartender daughter of a Puerto Rican housecleaner going up against longtime Rep. Joe Crowley.
“We’re doing something very controversial,” Ocasio-Cortez intones. “People say, ‘How dare you mount a challenge to someone who’s so established?”
Later, she declares: “I’m running because everyday Americans deserve to be represented by everyday Americans.”
A quotation from The Guardian’s gushing review of the movie at one point appears on screen: “The final reels of this film feel like a Rocky movie.”
Produced by New York-based Jubilee Films, the documentary won over audiences at the Sundance Film Festival and was reportedly bought by Netflix for $10 million. Also starring are first-time candidates Amy Vilela, Paula Jean Swearengin and Cori Bush, who like Ocasio-Cortez, were endorsed by Justice Democrats, a progressive group.
Of the four, though, only Ocasio-Cortez won her race. She has since been elected to Congress and become a Democratic political celebrity.
Despite the hype, Ocasio-Cortez has made little legislative impact. Democratic leaders and other party members have sought to put her in her place, and when the Senate voted on a Green New Deal resolution last month, the bill received zero “yes” votes.
She has also faced criticism for exaggerating her working class roots. But Alexandra Rojas, the executive director of Justice Democrats, said in a statement Monday that the film “does an amazing job portraying the blood, sweat, and tears involved in running a grassroots primary challenge when all the odds are stacked against you.”
“I hope the footage from the early days of these campaigns encourages other leaders, especially progressive working-class women and women of color, to consider running for Congress. Even if it means taking on the machine,” Rojas added.
Also Monday, Ocasio-Cortez shared a version of the Netflix trailer with her 4 million Twitter followers, saying: “Before my primary, three women & I agreed to film our journey of trying to run for office without big money.”
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