Citizen U.S.A.: A 50 State Road Trip

by Hayden Childs

The title and premise of Citizen U.S.A.: A 50 State Road Trip promise a Charles Kuralt-like stroll through the naturalization process in every state in the nation, but the simple fact of its one-hour run time belies the title: this is no road trip, but a race. Documentarian Alexandra Pelosi has no time to waste on the real stories of the people in her film.  They are all at the end of a difficult journey, choosing to repatriate to a new country, sometimes far from their family members, and having gone through an intentionally difficult process of vetting and test-taking.   However, Pelosi’s gentle questioning, while perhaps borne of her respect for their dignity, fails to push through the surface of their stories, reducing what surely must be some fascinating accounts and complex motives into mere soundbites.

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