Review: Not Going Quietly (Tribeca 2021)


Emotional, inspiring, enraging, and expertly told, Not Going Quietly is the incredible story of activist Ady Barkan, a true beacon of light in this world and a man who continues to fight for what he believes in.

Ady is an activist who in 2016 was diagnosed with ALS, leading to a viral confrontation with then Senator Jeff Flake on a flight where he asked him to “be a hero” and vote against the proposed tax bill that would also gut healthcare. Filmmaker Nicholas Bruckman presents an unfiltered look at Ady as he channels his struggles into action, embarking on a cross-country tour to vulnerable Republican districts to advocate against the tax bill. Bruckman masterfully captures Ady the person, with his health challenges and his family life, and balances that part of the story with Ady the activist. What results is a documentary that absolutely captures the contagious spirit of its subject while showcasing his continuous impact as Ady motivates those who he comes in contact with through humanizing the decisions being made by our leaders.

Not Going Quietly reduced me to a sobbing mess on more than one occasion, partly because of the struggles Americans face in acquiring base healthcare and then due to Ady himself, for the depiction of his warm, caring nature and the visible decline witnessed throughout the film. Ady teaches each of us that we can take our circumstances and use them for good, to influence the conversation and to make real change that is so desperately needed. 

Bruckman gifts viewers with a passenger seat ride along with Ady over numerous years and it is not one that you will soon forget, beautifully capturing Ady’s humor, passion, and heart.

Rating: 5/5

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