Sorkin Season: The Trial of the Chicago 7 is His Best Work Yet

Sorkin Season: The Trial of the Chicago 7 is His Best Work Yet

The Trial of the Chicago 7 is truly one of the best films to come out this year. This film is perfectly written, but words fade. Why? It all comes down to the masterclass screenwriting from Aaron Sorkin.

There is an urgency in this scrip. The dialogue was short, fast, and to the point (typical Sorkin). Everything was explained thoroughly and rather quickly, which kept you glued to the screen. Again, another Aaron Sorkin staple.

And all to learn one of the most untold protests in U.S. history about The Chicago 7.

The History of the Chicago 7

The Chicago Seven and their lawyers. From left, lawyer Leonard Weinglass, Rennie Davis, Abbie Hoffman, Lee Weiner, David Dellinger, John Froines, Jerry Rubin, Tom Hayden and lawyer William Kunstler.
The Chicago Seven and their lawyers. From left, lawyer Leonard Weinglass, Rennie Davis, Abbie Hoffman, Lee Weiner, David Dellinger, John Froines, Jerry Rubin, Tom Hayden and lawyer William Kunstler.
David Fenton/Getty Images

The film captured everything accurately – the political climate, the anti-war rhetoric, and the heinous crime in the late ’60s. The assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. And the Vietnam War was at its worst.

Then the famous protests, which changed history forever. People everywhere chanted to the American police force, The whole world is watching.” (And, they still are.)

History has a way of repeating itself. The more I see archival footage, used in films or documentaries, the more painful everything is to see in the current climate. That could be no more relevant that watching The Trial of the Chicago 7 on Netflix.

The Oscar-Worthy Performances

The Trial of the Chicago 7 will be nominated for Oscars. Just wait and see.
Kelvin Harrison Jr., Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Mark Rylance, Aaron Sorkin, and Eddie Redmayne on the set of The Trial of Chicago 7.
Credit: Niko Tavernise/Netflix

There are so many incredible moments in The Trial of the Chicago 7. And despite everyone’s amazing effort, there are three standouts from the entire ensemble, that left me in awe of their performances.

Within the first five minutes of seeing Yahya Abdul Mateen‘s portrayal of Bobby Seale, who was the co-founder of the Black Panther Party along with Huey P. Newton. I can confidently tell you Yahya should — and will — get an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Sacha Baron Cohen‘s portrayal of Abbie Hoffman was fantastic. You can tell he really wanted to tell Hoffman’s story. Incidentally, Cohen studied the Civil Rights movement in University and for his undergraduate thesis where he wrote about radical Jews in the movement. He found Hoffman this way (provided by Netflix in exclusive production notes).

Mark Rylance also gave a very moving performance, as radical defense attorney William Kunstler. It is probably my favourite performance of his. It was a subtle performance, until Kunstler snapped in the courtroom. Rylance shined in those moments.

To round out this powerhouse ensemble, we have Joseph Gordon Levitt, Eddie Redmayne, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Michael Keaton, Jeremy Strong and the legendary Frank Langella. They all worked so well together to bring one of the biggest trials in American history to the screen.

What I loved the most about The Trial of the Chicago 7 was that I could have watched it for another two hours and not get tired of it. I was actually disappointed when it ended because I wanted to see more of this fantastic ensemble of actors show up for Sorkin.

You must know, an Aaron Sorkin script is never easy to get through. Many actors have said that it is harder than it seems.

The Beauty Found in the Little Things

From left: Sacha Baron Cohen and Jeremy Strong in ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’
Credit:  Niko Tavernise/Netflix

It is fast-paced and the soundtrack also brought everything together. It wasn’t overused and it came in at the right moments. The Trail of the Chicago 7 is possibly Sorkin’s best directorial effort. His writing continuously leaves me stunned, and if you watch this, you’ll have that same feeling. The courtroom scenes pack a punch because of the crisp and precise editing. It would show the days leading up to the riots, while discussing the events in the courtroom. That definitely made an impact.

Most people have said this film is coming out at the right time. Yet, it’s almost seeing back in time all the way to the present.

Consider the sociopolitical climate, blatant racism, and cries of injustice for the abhorrent treatment from some awful people in the American police force. That has never disappeared. So is the word “timely” in a review even effective anymore, when this hasn’t stopped since the 60s?


The Trial of the Chicago 7 is not a representation of the current era we are living in. Instead, it represents the long fight against systemic racism and how this level of injustice has not been handled properly since the time that brought us this current era.

We see incredible performances from its ensemble, a wicked score by Daniel Pemberton (Steve Jobs, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Counselor), and highly emotional courtroom scenes that should be played in an Oscar reel next year.

It is truly one of the best Netflix Original Films I have seen and it deserves every ounce of praise that it is getting.


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