Independent Lens (2007)

Independent Lens



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Independent Lens Videos & Photos

Movie Info

Using an underdog congressional bid as a springboard, director Frank Popper explores the dangers of political dynasties in this documentary that aired as part of PBS's Independent Lens series. In 2004, 29-year-old political unknown Jeff Smith decided to make a run for an open congressional seat in Missouri, and soon found himself facing off against a political Goliath. With only a passionate grassroots group of volunteers behind him, Smith's candidacy serves as a true test of the efficacy of the … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Documentary, Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By: Frank Popper, Mike Kime, Matt Coen
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 21, 2007
ITVS - Official Site

Watch it now

News & Interviews for Independent Lens

Friend Ratings

No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.


Critic Reviews for Independent Lens

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (9)

Mr. Smith captures ground-level political machinations in an utterly fascinating way. The question raised by the title makes for an interesting, if possibly disheartening, debate.

Full Review… | February 1, 2007
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

For all its rah-rah David-vs.-Goliath populism, Can Mr. Smith understands that even an uncorrupted outsider like Smith must master the art of campaign gamesmanship to be successful.

Full Review… | February 1, 2007
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic

Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore? is an amusing case study in youthful enthusiasm for the electoral process, but this modest documentary skips the weighty issues posed by its namesake, the Frank Capra 1939 drama.

Full Review… | December 22, 2006
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

[Director Frank] Popper sticks close to the fierce campaigner and his young, mostly inexperienced staffers, capturing all the energy, idealism, dour humor, and unreasoning hope of a Cinderella candidacy.

Full Review… | December 22, 2006
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The movie is breezy, fun and keeps comin' at ya. Politics needs more of this and less of what went on in Ohio.

Full Review… | December 21, 2006
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

A rousing, sometimes funny, frequently depressing documentary.

Full Review… | November 3, 2006
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Independent Lens

An underfunded documentary about how sponsership really takes a large hand in politics.

Spencer S.

Super Reviewer


A heartening look into the grassroots campaign trail, and dynastic and unbreakable incumbency politics in the United States. Can actual people prevail over polls and politics?

Daniel Hetteix

Super Reviewer


[font=Century Gothic]"Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore?" is a perceptive documentary about Jeff Smith, a 29-year old professor, community activist and neophyte politician who is running for Congress in Missouri's Third District comprising St. Louis and environs. There are nine other Democrats running in the primary with the odds on favorite being Russ Carnahan, if only because he is a scion of a Missouri political dynasty. To combat this, Smith heads a valiant campaign staffed with non-professionals and hard working volunteers.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]What the film is generally concerned with is the status quo as personified by political dynasties. And the best way to combat that is good old fashioned shoe leather, for which there is no substitute. The movie refutes the electability myth which is supporting a candidate only because he can win, not because he is the best candidate. [/font]

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

Independent Lens Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss Independent Lens on our Movie forum!