Opinion: Every Californian should watch ‘Leaving California: The Untold Story’

The untold stories of Golden State should matter to all its residents


The Hollywood sign is one of the state’s most iconic landmarks.

When it comes to California, people always remember the endless coastline, bright sunshine and star-studded Hollywood with its countless opportunities and dreams. However, in recent years, more and more people and businesses have left California, a place they once loved. In the more than an-hour-long documentary “Leaving California: The Untold Story,” the answer emerges as to why an exodus is occurring.

“Leaving California” unfolds from the perspective of “California Insider” host Siyamak Khorrami. She takes the audience to talk with government officials, educators, business owners and citizens to tell those helpless or beautiful stories and showing the shadow looming over California.

The documentary explores such issues as crime, education, housing, cost of living, wildfire, homelessness and more, gradually revealing the reasons behind these problems.

Touching stories of some ordinary people we meet every day are matched with smooth editing and appropriate music, which firmly catches the audience’s eyes throughout the whole documentary.

Californians will feel an innate connection to the film because of its visual tours through the state’s iconic and infamous trademarks – people coming and going through the Avenue of Stars, dense residential areas, downtowns full of tents, lush forests and more.

As a documentary, “Leaving California” has neither technological special effects nor funny plots. It uses precise analysis and unfiltered footage to inspire the audience. Maybe the reality is serious and not lovely, but it is the truth that people have to know.

The lack of comedy and tension breaks are vital for the film to make its message. It’s a necessary splash of cold water amid a media sphere laden with comedic and non-serious material blinding people from harsh realities.

According to a nonprofit and nonpartisan think tank Public Policy Institute of California, in just two years from 2020 to 2022, California lost 600,000 people. Although there are other factors to consider – COVID-19 deaths and a decline in immigration – the figure is undoubtedly inflated by those leaving the state due to its conditions.

With quality of life showing no signs of improving, Californians need to get a grasp of the issues plaguing the state and consider what role they may be able to play in making their home a better place to live.