The Public is the Movie I didn’t Know That I Needed

The AMC near my house has $5.00 Tuesdays, and when we can, we take advantage. I don’t have to have a movie in mind, I can always find something to watch. Honestly, the worse it looks, the more I want to see it. This Tuesday, while scrolling through the list of available movies, I saw one with a dream team cast, Emilio Estevez, Christian Slater, Alec Baldwin and Michael Kenneth Williams, and I had to see it. It was called The Public

We packed up the kids, and Eric took them to see Captain Marvel again while I went to see The Public. I’m awful at explaining plots, so I’m going to let Wikipedia do the heavy lifting here.

“After learning that emergency shelters are at full capacity when a brutal Midwestern cold front makes its way to Cincinnati, Ohio, a large group of homeless library patrons led by Jackson (Michael Kenneth Williams) refuse to leave the downtown public library at closing time. What begins as a nonviolent Occupy sit-in and ragtag act of civil disobedience quickly escalates into a standoff with local riot police, led by a no-nonsense crisis negotiator (Alec Baldwin) and a savvy district attorney (Christian Slater) with lofty political ambitions, all as two librarians (Emilio Estevez and Jena Malone) are caught up in the middle of it.”

First off, that description is spot on, and it sounds ridiculous.

I went into this movie fully intending to laugh internally at it’s ridiculousness and then to give Eric the full crappy rundown afterwards. But the joke was on me, the movie was actually really good!

Here’s why I loved it:

Progressive Ideals

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a movie with progressive ideals. A movie that stands up against what is wrong with our country. Things like the media selling a story for ratings as opposed to telling the facts, and in turn hurting people, and dangerously creating false narratives. Or police brutality, and the skewing of peaceful protests to make them seem like they are led by crazy people with horrible motives.

The Thin Line

I often talk about the fact that there is a thin line between homelessness and me, or you. We are all one tragedy away from losing everything. If I lost my family, in some tragic event, what would keep me from losing my job and then my house? If I lost my children, what would sustain me and keep me from losing it all? I’d like to say that I could keep my wits about me, but I’ve had issues with substance abuse and self-harm in the past. A lot of people don’t see this when they see a homeless person. They don’t wonder what got them there, and this movie addresses that.

It’s a Love Letter to Public Libraries

This movie is the most loving tribute to public libraries that I’ve ever seen. The access to free information, the shelter it provides people in need, the help it gives to people day in and out. The movie highlighted how we need public spaces that provide services to people. That services like these provide more than just books, they create community. They are the heart of our country.

Charlie Sheen broke my heart, and Emilio Estevez restored my faith

When I was younger, I was in love with Charlie Sheen. IN LOVE!

The Public is the Movie I didn't Know That I Needed

Have you seen The Chase? Good god, he was everything in that movie. And I wanted to be Kristy Swanson! I mean, I also wanted to be her because she was Buffy, but that’s another story.

The Public is the Movie I didn't Know That I Needed

Then some time in the 2010’s Charlie Sheen lost his mind, and said some horrible things. Normally I’d cut someone struggling with drugs some slack, but he really said some foul hateful things. And my young heart broke.

Now, nearly ten years later, Emilio Estevez comes along and puts my little heart pieces back together. A movie like this was a breath of fresh air. Especially in this time of political unrest, when there are talks of cutting funding to the Special Olympics, when public aid is seen as frivolous government spending, and Social Security hangs in the balance.

Emilio Estevez wrote and directed this movie. Brat Pack member, Emilio Estevez, grew up and said something really important in the most important time to say it. Unfortunately there was only one other person in the theater with me, and only two people in the showing before that. But the fact that the movie was made, and that people are seeing it, makes me happy. It makes me hopeful in a way that I haven’t often been in over two years.


I know gushing over a movie about a public library may seem a little sappy, but I don’t care. I’ll praise each and every person who stands up and makes some noise. Especially the famous ones, because they are the ones that people really listen to, unfortunately.

If you are looking for a date night movie, go see The Public. Support it while it’s in theaters. Also, you get to see Michael Kenneth Williams with his shirt off, and that’s always a great thing!

So, who’s going to see this movie?

If you like terrible movie reviews, check out these others I’ve written!

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  1. Reply

    Don’t think I thought of the library/Breakfast Club/Emilio Estevez/The Public connection for this entire post.
    Also, when did Emilio start to look exactly like his dad??

    Now I want to see this, and I am not at all a movie in the theater kind of person.

    1. Reply

      I made the connection only when I was looking for post pictures. And yes! He looks and talks just like his dad! I’ve been watching Grace and Frankie since it first aired, with Martin Sheen, and I kept hearing his voice come out of Emilio’s mouth. I think they have the same fake top teeth! Or it just sounds like they do. They are both adorable, and Emilio Estevez has gotten better looking with age. His acting, not so much. But, bless him, he tries.

      Go see it! It needs the support!

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