If you watch the news occasionally, you won’t learn anything new from Michael Moore’s latest political documentary. His talent as a writer and director, though, along with that of his crew, shines a light on life today that is a hopeful mess of a story line only because American politicians are a mess.
Why did President Barack Obama get a glass of water, say he really needed a glass of water, and not actually swallow any of the water when he visited Flint, Michigan, after the water crisis exploded there and revealed to the world how so many people had been poisoned by the water system? Why does President Donald Trump still push for more guns when most of the country, including an overwhelming majority of outspoken students who organized, led, and delivered eloquent speeches at hundreds of protest marches last spring, is clearly against them?
Mr Moore’s apparent conclusion: Capitalism, and “the way it’s always been done.”
He plays a conversation between US Representative Steny Hoyer, a Democrat from Maryland, and a young Democrat pushing for change. Mr Hoyer’s words convey the same ideas as those of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, accepting compromise in the name of pushing a capitalist agenda that brings in donors by the bucketful.
Voxitatis is trying something new this year: In the past, I’ve asked high school students to write movie reviews, but I haven’t had any takers since 2011. If you submit a movie review within two weeks of the film’s release date, we’ll consider publishing it if it’s well written. If we accept it, we’ll donate $100 to your high school’s journalism club. I hope this’ll be a better strategy. So if you love movies, send one in.
Mr Trump is quoted as saying, “The American Dream is dead.” But Mr Moore turns it around and shows how a younger generation, willing to abandon the donors and the willingness on the part of lifelong politicians to sacrifice their beliefs and convictions for campaign money, can actually make a new world order and end our persistent blind loyalty to ideas that no longer work for most Americans. This means people who love democracy have to get out to the polls.
He includes a prominent appearance by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who won the Democratic primary for Congress in a New York election earlier this year. She has a certain buzz about her that reminds me a great deal of Mr Obama’s rise beginning at the 2004 convention.
The movie isn’t the most coherent Mr Moore has ever made, but honestly, what was he supposed to do? We live in a time when one news station after another characterizes us by our political votes: those who want more guns vote for Republicans, and those who want more social programs vote for Democrats. But neither Republicans nor Democrats seem to come through very often for those who elected them. And we wonder if we really hate each other as much as we are being led to believe.
On wide release in US theaters, September 21, Fahrenheit 11/9 is rated R for foul language and some disturbing material and images. The runtime is 126 minutes. We saw the movie in Tulsa, Oklahoma.