Plot & Details
The story of dedicated pacifist and human rights advocate Jeannette Rankin comes to the screen in this unconventional biopic narrated by Martin Sheen, and featuring the music of Joni Mitchell. Born in Montana and raised during the Indian Wars, Rankin (Jeanmarie Simpson) embraced pacifism early in life. Later, in 1916, she would defy the odds to become the very first U.S. Congresswoman. Her first vote to be cast would be against President Woodrow Wilson's WWI resolution, a vote that set the stage for her entire political career. As a result of that vote, Suffragists fearful that such a vote would make women look weak and damage the movement quickly turned against Rankin. After becoming the founding vice-president of the American Civil Liberties Union in 1920, Rankin worked hard to convince President Theodore Roosevelt to revise America's immigration laws so that Jewish refugees could be permitted entry into the country. When Rankin was reelected to Congress 21 later, her opposition to the Second World War resulted in her being mobbed and vilified, and found her becoming interested in the teachings of Mohandas Gandhi as well as the damaging effects of colonialism. Shortly before her death in 1973, Rankin enjoyed something of a resurgence in popularity due to her opposition of the Vietnam War, and her vigorous support of Second Wave Feminism. By beginning at the end of Rankin's life and working back toward her childhood, filmmaker Kamila Lopez is able to contrast her life against the story of a historical encounter between settlers and American Indians. Patricia Arquette, Karen Black, Peter Coyote, and Margot Kidder provide additional narration.