Boys State review – a mock government not far from the truth

August 13, 2020 (Last updated: February 1, 2023)
Daniel Hart 0
Apple TV+, Film Reviews


It goes without saying that Boys State gives a bleak future to the next wave of politics.

Apple TV+ documentary film Boys State will be released on the platform on August 14, 2020.

From the depths of every community, there are kids that are vying to be a politician. Their activist-flair and duty to lead will be emboldened by marches and a desire to learn how to draft policies. In a world where the left-right wing system is failing, there must be some prediction of what the next wave of politicians looks like.

It goes without saying that Boys State gives a bleak future to the next wave of politics. Every year, hundreds of aspiring young teenage boys gather into groups and create their mock government in Texas — the party that wins the governor’s leadership is the winner. From the offset, the issue is abundantly obvious; it wasn’t about the strength of policies, it was about the strength of branding.

Boys State documents an event that encapsulates how young generations are taught to become leaders. There is a win at any cost mentality; authenticity is secondary — if a policy is a winner despite zero belief behind it, “push it for the campaign at least”. This insightful and repeated notion glazes over the documentary like a sore thumb with a reeking failure of masculinity where these teenage boys believe shouting louder will achieve more votes. The documentary gives our current world premise on politics and it’s painstakingly embarrassing.

And to make this sobering documentary even more audacious, the selling point is that there is a stand-out politician in the crowd. A young man that earnestly tries to win with a thought-provoking and truthful campaign. The reason he is admired is due to his modesty and honesty yet that proves the point of the time we live in — we’ve set a low bar. A very low bar.

Seeing Democrats and Republicans squabble in a mock government while betraying their own principles is hardly a lesson to be taught. If anything, Boys State exemplifies competition. We all love winning but winning doesn’t necessarily serve the best for all. While it can be appreciated that the mock government concept is a genuine stepping stone for a political aspirer, the environment skews what politics is for.

And it’s this strange Texan window that makes Boys State a formidable documentary. What is witnessed is incredible and it platforms a boot camp version of a young politician’s life. There are no doubt viewers will shake their head but undoubtedly they will not be able to look away.

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