Movie #135 2020: Fahrenheit 11/9 (2018)

Michael Moore is one of those documentary filmmakers who doesn’t take himself too seriously, and for that, he causes a lot of controversy.

For instance, instead of just presenting cold, hard facts as your traditional documentary is supposed to, he throws in opinion too. And don’t expect him to be unbiased – he’ll focus on one side of the argument and not make much effort to fight in the opponent’s corner.

But for me, that’s why he’s brilliant.

Moore is an expert in creating films that are not only informative (if not one-sided), but also entertaining. How often were you forced to watched documentaries in school that bored you to tears? Well these are not your average documentaries, so there’s no need to worry about that.

This ain’t my first rodeo either. I’ve seen some of this filmmaker’s other ventures, including Bowling for Columbine (an insight into the Columbine High School massacre), and his 1989 documentary, Roger & Me, which details the closure of a General Motors’ plant in his hometown of Flint, Michigan, which led to the loss of hundreds of jobs for its already struggling community. There’s a symbiosis amongst all of his films, which means you simply cannot mistake his work for anyone else’s, and that’s a pretty cool thing to have across your work.

For my third outing, I visited Fahrenheit 11/9; an exposé into the Trump presidency and how the hell America can possibly get out of the mess they’ve created. What Michael Moore does well in this instance is poke fun at alt-right ‘republicans’ and Trump himself. Again, though, by that very definition, this takes this movie out of the ‘documentary’ category and more into the ‘political commentary’ or ‘opinion piece’ category. But it’s enjoyable nevertheless. And it’s actually quite funny at times!… If you’re a democrat, that is. 

It’s not all one big roast of the right-leaning folk, however. There’s a certain section in which Moore takes a stab at President Obama, showing us how he acted when he responded to the clean water crisis in Flint. I won’t lie, as an ardent Obama supporter, that’s the first time that I’ve felt disappointed in him. But Moore includes this simply to attempt a balanced argument, so I completely understand why he included it, and it’s actually an important thing to know.

There are so many more interesting points that are made here that I simply can’t go into detail on all of them. A couple of my favourite sequences though include the naming and shaming of many sexual predators who donated to the Trump campaign, and an eye-opening look at how recent Trump aides (Jared Kushner, Steve Bannon, and even Trump himself) supported the work that Moore was doing before His Orange Highness ascended to the White House. The hypocrisy and the corruption is outstanding; the main aim of this movie seems to be exposing that, and the target is hit here with vigour and reinforcement.

I have way too much to say about this. I’ve said it before, but this sort of shit is almost exactly what I have my degree in. I’ve written entire essays about the unsuitability of the electoral college, and studied the theories behind anti-Americanism at length. But it would be way too long of a review if I said everything I wanted to say so…

Again, this is not the most unbiased documentary you’ll ever see, but there are some really interesting and important facts here that more people should be listening to. Some of the most powerful statements within it come from the army veterans who say children in Iraq have it better than the children of Flint. That shit is scary, and they have Moore to thank for giving them a global voice.

If you’re into politics, you’ll for sure love this. And if you are a citizen of the world who is worried about its future, you’ll love this too.

Fahrenheit 11/9 is available to stream on Netflix in the UK.

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