Knock Down the House (2019)

“For every ten rejections you get one acceptance. And that’s how you win.”

Rachel Lears’ political documentary “Knock Down the House” might appear to be a documentary exploring the campaigns of a group of women that sought to win positions in the House in Washington, but deep down it’s about hope. For too long, America has been convinced that frankly only established politicians and those within inner circles can claim positions of power. “Knock Down the House” shows how four women rose from obscurity to shake up the government, and how Alexandria Ocasio Cortez rightfully won her position as congresswoman.

One of the most telling statements about American politics and how politicians perceive America as a whole is in the first half of the documentary. As AOC prepares to go in to battle to debate with her rival Joseph Crowley, he opts not to appear and instead sends in a proxy. This may have been the cincher as AOC makes a point of standing in front of the audience and explaining the big difference between she and Crowley. Not only does he not care enough to even show up to the debate, but the individual he sends in his place is barely coherent with her responses to AOC who charges in and tears the room apart with her enthusiasm.

“Knock Down the House” is a moving and often compelling look at four women struggling to rise up and represent their people, and we follow them along their campaign trails, and how they feel about the current government. One of the most emotional stories involves Amy Villela who is fighting for the sake of fixing the healthcare problem in America. She’s motivated by the death of her twenty two year old daughter who suffered a death from a pulmonary embolism after her healthcare was denied and she wasn’t given proper testing that could have saved her life. Along the way there are also looks at the other candidates strategizing, campaigning, and speaking to their supporters. Deep down they want a better America, they want to change so much of the injustice, and every single candidate admits it’s an uphill battle.

The documentary accidentally turns in to an underdog tale for AOC who, by the end of the film, is certain she’s already lost. As she suffers a wave of people proclaiming support for Crowley, and is turned down by local religious organizations in favor of Crowley, she seems ready to call it a day. It’s a moving turn of events when she arrives at her victory party, and surprising, when she’s ready to get to work. “Knock Down the House” is about the American Dream, or so the American Dream that’s been promoted for decades. It’s a tale of changing the game, and balancing the scales for the working class, and a story of Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, who didn’t waste a single opportunity, and made it to the Capital.

Now Streaming on Netflix.