Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s journey to Washington detailed in ‘Knock Down The House’

The award-winning film directed by Rachel Lears will debut on Netflix and in select theaters on May 1.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s stunning upset against incumbent Joe Crowley in the Democratic primary last year is part of a new documentary debuting next week in select theaters as well as on Netflix.

“Knock Down The House,” directed by Rachel Lears, follows the lives of four women on the campaign trail during the 2018 midterm elections. Although their backgrounds are vastly different, they shared a common goal: challenging entrenched, well-funded politicians with grassroots campaigns.

Ocasio-Cortez, a bartender from the Bronx who did not accept money from corporations during her campaign, was the first primary challenger Crowley had faced in 14 years. She won the primary election with 57.5 percent of the vote and went on to beat Republican challenger Anthony Pappas in the November general election.

The political newcomer has since taken the nation (and social media) by storm, sparring with her foes in Congress and promoting her Green New Deal to combat climate change on a systemic level.

In a trailer for the film released by Netflix on Tuesday, Ocasio-Cortez talks about the challenges she faced in going up against a politician like Crowley. 

"If I was a rational person, I would have dropped out of this race a long time ago," she says in a clip opening the trailer.

In addition to Ocasio-Cortez, the award-winning film follows the campaigns of Amy Vilela, a Nevada woman who was inspired to run for office after her daughter died while there was a delay in care because of conflicts with her health insurance coverage; Paula Jean Swearengin, a coal miner’s daughter and environmental activist from West Virginia; and Cori Bush, a pastor and registered nurse from Ferguson, Missouri, who was drawn to politics in the wake of the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown.

The film, which won the U.S. Documentary Audience Award at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, debuts on Netflix May 1. New Yorkers can also catch screenings at IFC Center in Manhattan.

Lauren Cook