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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Boys State

Streaming on Apple TV / Film & TV

What happens when you put a thousand teenage boys in one place and tell them to build a representative government from scratch? Since 1935, answers have appeared annually in the American states in which the American Legion Boys State takes place (a Girls State was launched in 1937). The 2020 documentary Boys State, directed and produced by Jesse Moss and Amanda McBaine, focuses on the 2018 Boys State in Austin, Texas, and follows a handful of young men as they seek to win election to “government” positions. Some of them, from the get-go, play up to the prejudices of their peers in hopes of winning the vote. More sincere souls must decide how to respond to such cynicism. And then there’s the pure-hearted candidate, whose honesty inspires even his competitors. Who will win? Enter the crucible and find out. —L.J.

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