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The Great American Lie examines how America’s upside-down value system—built on the extreme masculine ideals of dominance, control, and aggression—has glorified money, power, and rugged individualism, institutionalizing inequality, and undermining the ability of most Americans to achieve the American Dream. The film ultimately unveils how we can get out of this mess, leading with more feminized values of empathy, care, and collaboration.
The Great American Lie brings the reality of America’s vast inequality to life through the stories of five people: a public school principal fighting for better opportunities for her disadvantaged students, a social justice advocate shining a light on the plight of low-wage tipped workers, a public interest lawyer fighting for criminal justice reform that prioritizes care over punishment, a steelworker who knows firsthand the toll of layoffs, economic disillusionment and addiction, and a Southern conservative who takes us on a journey from disconnection and judgment to connection and empathy. All of these stories reveal ways that gendered values play out in our society, privileging few and oppressing many.
The narrative stories are interwoven with expert voices who help give historical, political, and economic context to the film, including Bryan Stevenson, Ai-jen Poo, Steve Schmidt, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Nicholas Kristoff, Charles M. Blow, and many others.