Every Monday and Friday we’re bringing you The Darkest Minds content leading up to the film’s Aug. 3 release.
Dystopian novels typically represent a grim future that we don’t ever expect to happen. How could we ever imagine moral lines could be crossed in such a way? But dystopian novels are warnings, in a sense. Showing us corruption and unimaginable horrors that remind society what not to do.
Dystopian novels should never be entirely reflective of society. We might be able to see warning signs of where society could go if it gets out of hand. And yet, in today’s society, it feels like we’re living in the beginning of a dystopian novel. The warning signs have been here. And those supposedly elected to preserve our basic freedoms have completely ignored those signs instead choosing to protect themselves and an administration whose only concern is to protect people like them.
Life often imitates art, and vice versa. But I never expected to see so much of Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds world infused into society. Into a reality we all wake up to every day. Dystopian worlds aren’t supposed to be realistic fiction. They’re never supposed to happen.
In The Darkest Minds, children are taken from their families and placed in internment camps because the government is afraid of them. Because after a disease killed most of the children in the United States, those that survived developed powers. And, naturally, the government was afraid of those that they cannot control. In this series, these children — led by Ruby, Liam, Chubs, and Zu — have to fight to survive and fight to break out because the adults, sadly, are fearful or ignorant bystanders. The adults. The ones that should recognize injustice when it’s staring them in the face.
But that’s the thing about fear. Fear has a way of creeping inside of you and making you believe the very worst and acting upon those feelings. Whether it’s following a corrupt government’s vision of a New America or hiding away and doing nothing to stop it. And it’s usually the government, that wants that control and to maintain it, that’s dishing out ridiculous propaganda to support their vile beliefs about why children should be separated from their families and locked away.
As I’m sure you all know — and if you don’t, please go educate yourself right now — our society is facing a reality that’s far too similar to Bracken’s world in The Darkest Minds. Children taken from their families? Children placed in camps? Children placed in cages? For no reason other than they’re immigrants that decided to cross the border into a country of immigrants. No, that’s not the premise of a new dystopian. It’s the hell we’re living in right now.
On Wednesday, President Trump issued an executive order on family separation, which is a Bandaid over the gushing flesh wound that is affecting our society. But don’t let that distract you. There are still thousands of children in cages, and they don’t know if they can reunite them with their families. For those they can or will try to reunite, they’ll be putting families in with the kids, most likely in those same cages. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it’s “government-sanctioned child abuse.” Nothing has changed. And it won’t change unless we all rise up to do something about it. Keep protesting and donating to help. Keep making your voice heard loud and proud.
It’s a terrifying feeling to feel like we’re living in a dystopian novel come to life. Because we are. And yet, it’s not hopeless. If anything, we’ve been empowered for this moment. A moment we never expected to come. A moment that never should have come. But a moment we are forced to deal with.
In moments of oppression, we’ve learned not to bow down to those in corrupt power. We’ve learned to rise and fight back. To fight for our basic freedoms. To fight for humanity. To fight for the future. Just as Ruby, Liam, Chubs, and Zu fight against some of these very same injustices in The Darkest Minds.
That’s why The Darkest Minds, which hits theaters on Aug. 3, is so important right now. This goes so much further than it’s a moving story about overcoming tyranny and the strong children that fight the injustices thrust upon them. This is something that our reality is facing right now. And it’s why people need to see this movie. It’s why people need to talk about this movie. It’s why people should go read these books. It’s why media is so important. Don’t let the government dictate how and what you think. Decide for yourself. Watch this movie. Watch the news. Decide if that’s a world that you want to live. Decide if that’s a world that you can live in.
Everyone needs to see The Darkest Minds. If not just for these brilliant, complex characters that give us hope in the darkness, to get a glimpse of a society that feels not entirely unlike our own. Maybe if they can see the injustice in fiction, they can take a look around their own reality and see the injustice that’s been staring them in the face. And do something about it. Join the fight. Join the millions of people like us that are shining a light on the injustice of separating children from their families and placing them in cages. End this real-life dystopian novel before it becomes a series of dystopian novels.
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The Darkest Minds hits theaters on Friday, Aug. 3.
Stay tuned to Fangirlish every Monday and Friday for more The Darkest Minds Movie Talk leading up to the film’s release.