There’s so many issues and themes surrounding justice, it can be hard navigate and get your head around it. So here’s five films that will give you a wider understanding of justice, while you watch from the comfort of your own home.
1. 12 Angry Men (1959)
Possibly my favourite film out of the list! Set entirely in one room, it follows 12 jurors as they decide whether to convict an 18-year-old for allegedly stabbing his father. One of the 12 believes he is innocent and convinces the rest to re-look at all the evidence. This film shows that even if we don’t know it, our own subjective experiences and beliefs underlay what we believe justice to be. Each of the 12 men in this film have their own prejudices that prevent them from seeing justice be enacted. It’s a good reminder for us all to know how prejudice can cloud our judgement of true justice, and that our perspective very much depends on our own experiences.
2. Amazing Grace (2006)
This biopic of William Wilberforce tells the story of how he steered anti-slave trade legislation through the British Parliament, leading to the abolishment of the slave trade in the British empire forever. It took Wilberforce over 20 years of campaigning to see an end to the slave trade, but it wasn’t fully abolished in his lifetime. Parliament passed legislation in 1807 to abolish the slave trade thanks to him, but it did not formally happen until 1833, just one month after his death. What can we learn about justice from this film and the life of Wilberforce? That if we’re passionate about justice, sometimes you have to be in it for the long haul. Just keep pushing forward!
3. 13th (2016) – Netflix
This documentary explores the intersection of race, justice and mass incarceration in the United States. It looks at how, since the end of slavery in the USA, slavery has continued through other practices including suppressions of African Americans with mass imprisonment and disenfranchisement that weighs heavily towards minority communities.
There’s a lot to learn about justice from this documentary. Not only does it highlight how injustice towards African Americans is systemic, but it shows us that even the legal system we place our hope in to deliver justice is also highly flawed. Not only should we campaign for justice, but we should campaign to reform the justice system to make it a system that is fairer.
4. Dirty Money (2018) – Netflix Series
Ok, I know this is more of a TV series rather than a film, but it’s definitely worth a watch. Each episode looks at corporate corruption and how injustice permeates through big businesses, whether it’s pharmaceutical companies, banks or payday loans to name a few. Injustice is everywhere and in places you’d least expect it. It needs to be stamped out in every area. It explains why governments need to hold large corporations to account, but also how our own individual actions, in what we buy and where we bank, can contribute towards injustice towards others. We need to be smart in our own actions and make sure we buy ethically and from places that don’t exploit their workers.
5. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
This classic film looks at injustice in the rural South of America in the 1930s. It follows Atticus Finch, a lawyer appointed to defend Tom Robinson, a black man who‘s accused of raping a young white woman. There’s so much to learn from this film about justice. The character of Boo Radley represents the injustice many people face because of how society misunderstands and superficially judges them. God calls us to love anyone and everyone, no matter who they are.
This film also calls us to stand up for what is right even if there is huge opposition against us. Atticus Finch is spat on and has his children attacked purely because he is standing up for a black man during a time of racial segregation. We also should stand up for what is right and fair, no matter who criticizes us and the opposition we face.
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