Life under President Trump’s administration has been anything but boring. Every week for the past two years, it seems the news has been infested with stories about the insanity that is current American politics.
If anyone was to create a documentary encapsulating this crazy period in American history, there is probably no one more controversial, zany, lauded and irreverent than Michael Moore.
From his work on documentary films like “Bowling for Columbine” and “Sicko,” it’s little wonder the director from Flint, Mich. has now decided to take on President Trump and a multitude of other conservatives in his latest doc “Fahrenheit 11/9,” a play on his 2004 Palme d’Or winning film “Fahrenheit 9/11.”
While trailers of the film hint that the theme centers completely around Trump, Moore tackles many different issues affecting the nation over the last two years, some having less connection to the president than others.
He starts with the catalyst for the this crazy carnival ride — election night 2016. With the wailing operatic cries of Pavarotti in the background, he shows the diametrically opposed images of celebratory conservatives and hysterical liberals that perfectly sum up the emotion that went into that night.
After this, Moore goes into great detail about the various events that led up to the Trump’s decision to run for president and the shock and awe as he continued to win races. Because it’s Michael Moore, each analysis is filled with wry jokes and humor that take the sting out of the horrifying events, if only a little.
Surprisingly, Moore spends a significant amount of time discussing the Flint Water Crisis, which so far has led to the deaths of 12 people. This obviously is very personal for Moore, who grew up in Flint. The reason he features the crisis in this documentary is to try and make a connection between Michigan Governor, Rick Snyder, who many blame for causing and covering up the crisis, and Trump. How effectively he does this depends on who you ask.
This highlights the ultimate conundrum that comes with reviewing any documentary by Michael Moore — the beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder. If you espouse the progressive, “down with the system” mindset that Moore possesses, there’s a lot here for you to enjoy. If you’re a big fan of President Trump, chances are you won’t be leaving the theater very happy.
Since I fall in neither one of these camps, my enjoyment of this film comes mainly through the sharp and witty commentary Moore provides on both sides of the aisle. Truly, no one is safe from the biting critiques of a man who gets under the skin of the powerful like no other.
Now, this is hardly Moore’s most standout or revolutionary work to date. Its shotgun approach to the issues of today, as well as more outlandish theories than usual, leave one feeling exhausted after its two hour runtime. However, I can honestly say that his material, no matter how ridiculous at times, never bored me.
No, it’s not terribly sophisticated, I won’t even say it achieves the kind of “wokeness” it clearly strives for. In these times, though, it’s healthy to have a vent, to watch someone acknowledge the absurdity of it all and think, “God, someone finally gets it.”
Because sometimes, you just need a strong pinch to remind you it’s not just some terrible dream.
Kyle Land is the editor-in-chief of the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @kyleoftheland.