Review: Miss Virginia

Uzo Aduba in Miss Virginia

Miss Virginia is based on a true story about a Washington D.C. mother who wanted a chance at a better education for her son. It stars Uzo Aduba as the inspirational Virginia Walden. There are spoilers ahead.

Niles Fitch in Miss Virginia

Miss Virginia begins when Virginia learns that her son James (Niles Fitch) is cutting school. She gets a glimpse of how dangerous and dysfunctional the public schools are. She realizes her son is learning nothing and is afraid to go to school.

She enrolls him in a private school. He loves it. He’s thriving. But Virginia can’t raise the $7000 tuition. She needs a scholarship, but none is available.

She tries to earn more money with a second job in the office of Lorraine Townsend (Aunjanue Ellis), a politician who claims to be working to better the education of D.C.’s children.

She quickly realizes that her additional paycheck is pitifully small and Lorraine Townsend isn’t really doing what she claims.

Matthew Modine and Uzo Aduba in Miss Virginia

Then she goes to see Congressman Williams (Matthew Modine), who created a program in his home state to provide scholarship money for needy kids. He informs her that D.C. is not a state and it literally takes an act of Congress to make any changes in the educational programs in the city.

Miss Virginia starts collecting signatures on a petition. Through fits and starts and with help from other parents, mainly the very effective people-person Shondae (Amirah Vann), a movement begins.

They deliver petitions. They get thousands of signatures. The nervous Virginia makes speeches. They march. They mob meetings. Eventually they are heard. Congressman Williams creates a scholarship bill and it comes to a vote.

Uzo Aduba in Miss Virginia

The day of the vote the protestors are behind bars, the kids in public school are watching C-Span during the vote, and Lorraine Townsend is gloating because she thinks the vote will be defeated.

You know, of course, because a movie based on a true story is always about triumph over the odds, that the bill will pass. Since that day, thousands of D.C.’s kids have benefited from the work begun by Virginia Walden and her neighbors.

Uzo Aduba is brilliant at everything she does. She very effectively shows the frustration, pain, and slow growth of this single mom who takes on the US government and wins. The story is told with tension, suspense, and many human moments showing just how desperate parents are to secure better opportunities for their kids. I absolutely recommend watching it.

Poster for Miss Virginia

If you can pin the poster above on Pinterest, that would be much appreciated. Also, have a look at the trailer.

I think you’ll be inspired by Miss Virginia. I certainly was.

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