In The Reunited States, filmmaker Ben Rekhi deftly tackles a topic that is often framed as a problem without a solution: the United States’ endemic political bipartisanship.
The film profiles a number of individuals that have a shared political goal, to figuratively and literally ‘reach across the aisle’ of American politics to bridge the political and racial divides that have characterised much of the nation’s political discourse for the last decade.
Rekhi takes an original and engaging approach to America’s political situation, intimately focusing on relationships and stories emblematic of wider issues that have characterised much of the nation’s political discourse for the last decade.
Rather than confront the issue from a systemic or ideological angle, Rekhi’s lens is decidedly more personal, following the specific stories, experiences, and efforts of the people attempting to change the political fabric of America one impassioned conversation at a time.
Among them are an independent politician, a ‘post-partisan’ political entrepreneur, a lifelong Republican couple determined for a greater perspective, and grieving mother Susan Bro.
As the Mother of civil rights activist Heather Heyer, who was tragically killed while counter-protesting in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, Bro’s story serves as the emotional core of the film, and makes for some of its most touching moments.
Although occasionally verging on didactic, The Reunited States is undoubtedly genuine, and is a compelling watch for those curious for a refreshing take on American politics.
Reviewed by Patrick McKenzie