The Trial of the Chicago Seven (on Netflix)

When my adult kids suggest a movie to watch it, I really try to find the time to follow through. The fact that they've recommended it is enough for me. Like it or not, it gives us something to talk about, and our response to the movie opens a bit of a window into each other's mind. So bring it on. As long as it's not a horror movie, I'm game to have a look at anything they suggest.

Last night was movie night for Glen and I. It's been a long time since we had one, mainly because we struggle to find a movie we both want to watch. However, one of our adult kids has been recommending we watch The Trial of the Chicago Seven for several months now.  Interesting. This event happened way before his time. In fact, I was only a tween during the original trial. His decision to watch this movie, as well as his response to it, intrigued me a lot. 

What did I think?  Well to start, I felt the film had good bones - casting, script, directing, producing, filming, costumes, editing, lighting and flow. I was drawn in from the start and the movie kept my interest all the way to the finish. There was a negative for me, but it had nothing to do with the movie itself.  I found myself pissed off at the travesty that was taking place. That this is based on a true event made my reaction even worse. My blood boiled and my blood pressure soared from the start of the trial until the end of the movie. After it was over I had to figure out how to calm down enough to actually get to sleep. It took several hours.

Six of the Chicago 7 defendants appear in 1970. Abbie Hoffman, from left, John Froines, Lee Weiner,
Jerry Rubin, Rennie Davis and Tom Hayden were acquitted of conspiracy, but five were convicted of
other charges. The guilty verdicts were later overturned. 
(William Yates / Chicago Tribune)

Scenes of police in riot gear wearing masks and wielding clubs made out of the same wood as baseball bats beating the shit out of unarmed people - shocking.  Police with rifles cocked ready to fire on protestors - shocking. M1 rifles, machine guns and jeeps with vertical barbed wire frames in front ready to drive into the protestors - shocking.  President Johnson's justice department investigated and found this a "police riot."  Then Nixon became president and the new department decided look at it differently. 

Young anti-war protesters raise their arms in the air and taunt bayonet-armed
National Guardsmen Aug. 28, 1968, near Michigan Avenue in Chicago during
the Democratic National Convention. The Vietnam War became the catalyst for
rebellion among the nation's youth. AP

The single black defendant included in this group wasn't even in town when the riots happened.  Why was he there? He was the leader of the Black Panthers and his presence in this group was meant to sway the jury. There was blatant jury tampering and the judge did everything he could to favor the government prosecutors in his rulings - often ignoring the law to do it.  I think the lead defense attorney ended up with 24 contempt charges. 

I would love to say more, but don't was to spoil the movie for you in any way. It is really is worth watching, but don't do it near bedtime if you're someone like me who gets emotionally involved while watching.  


  1. My hubby and I really liked this one too. So much info packed in one movie. It had some funny moments too.


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