This is not going to be a typical review from me, because this movie had more of an impact on who I am as a person than I ever thought it would.
Rogue One is the movie that fills in the gap between the Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, where the Rebels steal the plans for the Death Star. The movie primarily focuses on Jin, who, inspired by traumatic events of her childhood, fights against the corrupt government. That is all I will say about the plot because I think it is best to go into the movie with only a simple description of the events that occur.
Now, whenever I experience, watch or read anything, I think of how it applies to the rest of humanity, and that is exactly why this movie brought me to tears.
We are living in a very scary time. A man who has been endorsed by the KKK twice, who has had over a dozen women accuse him of sexual assault, who has called Mexicans rapists, has won the presidency against who I believe was the most qualified candidate to ever run for president, a woman who was smart, experienced, had domestic policy that was based on progress and equality and served as an inspiration to so many girls and women. We are living in a very unsure time, where the entire Trump administration has the whole country at their disposal and their mission is to try and destroy most of its population: anyone who is not a conservative rich white heterosexual able-bodied cisgender Christian man. A government that is supposed to serve the people is now trying to hurt us, and there is not a lot that average individuals have actual control over.
Rogue One is set in a world where the government is completely and utterly destructive to its people; the movie begins with Jin’s family being torn apart and Jin being abandoned as a little girl. Everything in her world that she loved had been taken away from her.
A number of years later, Jin finds people who have experienced exactly what she has (The Rebellion), and have decided to fight against it. But it isn’t until Jin comes along that real progress is made.
People of marginalized groups almost never get to come out of a movie feeling inspired or empowered, feeling like they saw themselves in the film. That was how I felt. She was the hero, and after an election of betrayal, of women losing because they were women, I saw Jin on screen saving the world and it brings me hope. I can only imagine the effect Rogue One would have had if Jin had been a person of color, or part of the LGBTQ+ community, etc.
For me, this movie reiterated the fact that fighting for what’s right is worth it, because in the end, you win no matter what. Your humanity triumphs over evil.
Jin was a leader and inspired people to fight back, despite the opposition she received from both people on her side and those who were not. She was resilient and triumphant even during a time when so many were telling her to give up. An entire group of men LISTENED to her; they were not intimidated by her intelligence or strength and did not try and silence her. So often, female leaders are met with nothing but opposition from their male counterparts. In this case, the guys showed nothing but support for her.
While I do think that this film could have featured more diversity, Rogue One did make some wonderful achievements in terms of representation. It featured a woman and a Latino man as the leads, and people of color who weren’t stereotyped. I am speaking from a privileged perspective so I could be wrong, but I saw a lot more diversity in this film than I have in most other films. Plus, this film was marketed to people of all races and genders, defeating myths that men won’t see movies about women and white people won’t see movies with POC’s in main roles.
Everyone in the movie was an emotionally complex character, but I have to talk specifically about Jin. Most of the time, when movies or books try to portray strong female characters, they make her emotionless and just good at fighting. And hypersexualization is a huge problem. In Rogue One, none of this happens. Jin is one of the strongest characters I have ever had the pleasure to see on screen, and it was her emotions that made her so strong. Feelings served as the motivation of her and her team to fight for freedom.
I sat in the theater for the last half of the movie, crying for how beautiful all of this was, for the hope that this movie filled my heart with, for the power that it made me feel. All I have left to tell you is to please go and see it. It is amazing how a single film can change a life.