Boys State review – amazing study of teenagers running for pretend office

The gloves and training wheels come off as a group of smart, poignantly naive and utterly insufferable Texas boys get together to simulate governmentIt’s not clear to me if this is a heartwarming study in young people’s idealism or a Lord of the Flies bloodbath with smug feral demons in white T-shirts.

It’s not clear if it’s funny or tragic, if it’s reality TV or reality itself.

But Boys State is as exciting and moving as Steve James’s high school basketball epic Hoop Dreams was a generation ago, with its emotional rawness, its guileless patriotism and capacity for hurt and wonder.

We watch, in what feels like real time, as a group of ambitious teenage boys – smart, poignantly naive, utterly insufferable – get brutally acquainted with Kipling’s two “impostors”: triumph and disaster.It is the story of Boys State, a kind of

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