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Hot Docs 2020: “Softie” ★★★★


It takes courage to stand against injustice, fight against an unbeatable foe, and speak up when most choose to remain silent. When it comes to social or political activism, there’s one thing we should always remember – in some countries, those activists mostly don’t make it. They get defeated, silenced, or even killed. Despite the predictable outcome, some still fight, putting the interest of their country above their own life.

Sam Soko’s “Softie” offers an incredible portrayal of a man, almost like the male version of Homeland’s Carrie Matthison, who makes a sacrifice by choosing his country first. He believes in God, has a beautiful wife, and three adorable children. His family is what many would dream to have. What else would he need apart from the serene and calm life his loved ones offered?

Bonifice “Softie” Mwangi, a photographer and activist, after witnessing the most violent scenes and fed up with the hypocrisy, decides to run for MP. He knows that his move can cost him his life. But the betterment of his country is the most important thing for him he is willing to give his life for. As he would capture the protests, the images were so brutal and graphic that they were either not aired on TV or published in newspapers. As he grows frustrated, he, without telling his wife Njeri, runs for the office of MP that sends her into shock.

Knowing her husband, she can’t really stop him. And once we realize that, we see her hardships too, being the wife of a man that has his own, understandably, higher priorities. Through the most in-depth and thought-provoking interviews, Softie explains his decision and why he must continue his fight. That alone is not just admirable but incredibly touching and scary at the same time.

That said, “Softie” is a must-see film. But you must be prepared for the gut-wrenching scenes some may not be able to handle. But it is an important story that the North American viewers must know about, comprehend it, and even embrace through the silver screen.

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