The major upside of more and more companies producing online branded content is that, occasionally, you come across a short narrative gem. Throw Like A Girl is such a jewel—a fantastic documentary about amazing 13-year-old athlete Mo’ne Davis. She’s got a 70 mile an hour fastball, is an adroit point guard, and she’s a straight A student. Needless to say, Mo’ne is a bit of a prodigy.
Directed by Spike Lee and funded by Chevrolet, this is certainly a high profile documentary. But, apart from a single shot at the end, the corporate backing is, thankfully, hidden beneath the surface. This isn’t some car commercial. Instead, it’s an inspiring tale about a girl who is defying gender stereotypes. When discussing a film like this, you can’t not talk about gender roles in America. Sexism is very much a part of our nation’s current cultural consciousness (the amount of think pieces about the subject floating amongst the blogosphere right now are staggering). But, without getting into some long-winded digression, Mo’ne is a powerful, simple symbol that girls really can do anything boys can. More to the point, she’s inspiring because, well, she’s not seeking to be. Her goal isn’t to be some spokesperson who stands on a soapbox for equality. Rather, she just wants to play baseball (and basketball…and football).
The documentary style is slightly old fashioned (think talking heads), but it’s effective in its simplicity. Over the runtime, we get a good sense of her loving family and her supportive coach and teachers. Cinematically, Throw Like a Girl is a representative example of the ‘ole KISS principle (Keep it simple, stupid). It might not have visual bells and whistles, but it tells a compelling story and it does it well. Spike Lee just has to sit back, let the camera roll, and watch those fastballs whizz on by.On the eve of the United States’ Thanksgiving holiday, and as we’re coping with some depressing news about how our country still continues to struggle with racism and inequality, Throw Like a Girl is a much needed bright spot. Granted, Mo’ne doesn’t (and shouldn’t) have to shoulder such a symbolic burden. Rather, she just needs to keep throwing strikes. That’s message enough for me.