Review: Flint

Queen Latifah in Flint

Flint is a Lifetime TV movie about the public health crisis in Flint, Michigan caused by unsafe drinking water. Before the movie aired, I saw criticisms saying that the movie would make it seem like everything was all right now, even though it isn’t. Well, the movie did not do that at all.

What this film does do is tell the story of how awareness of the problems caused by lead and other toxins in the drinking water slowly came into public consciousness. This was mostly the work of mothers and public health advocates with help from scientists, doctors, and community activists.

It began with illnesses, rashes, mood disorders, and miscarriages. The water smelled bad and looked brown. No one in the government would admit anything was wrong.

The city of Flint, the state of Michigan, and the EPA all used lies and deceit to try to silence the complaints about the water. Every inch of forward movement in the fight to even get the problem acknowledged was brought about by members of the community.

Through research into plumbing and corrosion, through meticulous reading of water quality reports, through collecting data on lead in children’s blood, through city wide water testing campaigns run by citizens – through all that – the danger finally became so obvious the government couldn’t hide the facts any longer.

The movie ends with the first victory in that fight. It wasn’t the whole fight, there is still much more to do, but it was the first small victory. It was a tipping point, not the end point. It was a good point at which to end a movie.

As this tweet details, the fight is not over. These are the real people on the ground and struggling with this every day. These are not TV stars.

The real people the film portrays were played by Queen Latifah, Betsy Brandt, Marin Ireland, Jill Scott, Rob Morrow, Lyndie Greenwood, and Juan Carlos Velis.

I have so much respect for the women of Flint who are leading this fight. They are heroes.

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