Boys State (2020)

Title: Boys State

Year: 2020

Genre: Documentary |

Runtime:  109 min

Director: Amanda McBaine, Jesse Moss

Starring: Ben Feinstein, Steven Garza

imdb 7,7/10


A thousand 17-year-old boys from Texas join together to build a representative government from the ground up.



AppleTV + newest addition is the documentary feature called Boys State that follows thousands of teenage boys attending the Texas Boys State and building up a representative government. These attendees are trained on how politics and government work and learning to build from the ground up.

With quick and engaged editing the documentary invites the audience on how it all works with Nationalists and Federalists.  It depicts an era of the next generation of leaders.  The speech is somewhat controversial with some interesting rhetoric approach. Some are more interesting to follow than others. There’s a destructive masculine mentality showcased between everyone with competitiveness and compromising.

The film doesn’t follow all but some selected characters that feel separated and sometimes interesting to follow. The editing helps to engage you in the story as it is extremely simplistic cut and overall a decent production with good sound and imagery. It’s also a very American picture, pure American as the patriotic feeling is drowning it with its agenda. Interesting is that you get to follow both parties on their way to the top as they learn and explore how to govern properly with the two parties.

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In a way, it also feels honest to the subject. It shows a bit here and there in their process as the story sort of organically evolves at a slow pace. A thousand boys seem ambitious to their program as attendees even if some are infantile.  What’s interesting with the story is on how they will work and the journey within the political landscape that they explore. The film also takes attention to how politics and Americanism are embedded in the country, that it doesn’t matter what age you’re even if you’re young and these young teenagers are very ambitious with their agendas both the radical, controversial and the liberal conservatives are involved as well.

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The film gives a small insight into the matter. it appears to be a tradition for over 60 years with Texas Boys State and it could be useful for other countries to have the same abilities to do something in politics. But that’s not the case, there’s not enough budget or interest for that either. The interviews intercut and that narrates between the specific events, is poorly executed. It’s not a professional filmmaker behind it where interviews are integrated with the documentary. Not in this case. A lot of error is made and ignored through the editing as well.

Streaming this on AppleTV+ is a problematic issue that hasn’t resolved since it launched, as it crashes, pushing back several minutes and doesn’t really have a good interface. It compromises the overall experience with a film that is worth watching however the insight of the politics is a second priority and the characters presented are the main ones, which is fairly portrayed.

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To be interesting, it helps if you’re interested in Texas Americanism and politics filled with patriotism. You could also compare the documentary to a light politicallyLord of the Flies.





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