Fahrenheit 11/9: **1/2
When 22nd Century historians teach a lesson about the 2016 election, they’ll only need one primary source document. In the autumn leading up to the vote, Michael Moore wrote an essay entitled “5 Reasons Trump Will Win.”
Moore recognized that Donald Trump was the “Roger & Me” of presidential candidates. His message was music to the ears of forgotten Rust Belt workers who were fed up with globalization and the New World Order.
Trump criticized arrogant coastal elites for passing NAFTA, leading to the deindustrialization of the once vibrant American Midwest. He offered classical Progressive solutions: more worker-friendly trade deals and protectionist tariffs.
Michael Moore labeled the Trump revolution American Brexit. And he cited the four Obama states – Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Moore’s own Michigan – that the candidate was going to win on his way to earning the Presidency. The article is pure genius. You should read it.
“Fahrenheit 11/9” feels like the work of a different artist. The film is surprisingly overlong and unfocused.
Anti-Trump viewers will probably be disappointed. Yes, Moore accuses the President of simultaneously leading our country toward Nazism and nuclear war, but Trump is onscreen less than one quarter of the movie.
As much as anything, “Fahrenheit 11/9” is an angry takedown of the politicians who created and abetted the Flint, Michigan water crisis.
Moore accuses Michigan governor Rick Snyder of building an unnecessary new pipeline out of pure greed and leaving the impoverished citizens of Flint to drink poisonous, lead-filled muck.
And when he discovered that the dirty water was corroding parts at the GM plant, Gov. Snyder took immediate action and gave the company back its clean water. The people continued to drink swill.
Viewers will be surprised to learn that the ultimate villains of “Fahrenheit 11/9” aren’t the Trumpists; they are the leaders of the Democratic Party.
Moore condemns the DNC for stealing the 2016 nomination away from Bernie Sanders.
Moore eviscerates Bill Clinton, accusing the former President of selling out black citizens, blue collar workers, and private sector Unions. Moore concludes that after Clinton, the Democratic Party was just as corporatist and globalist as the Republicans.
Thank goodness for Obama, right? In the film’s only great scene, President Obama swoops into Flint on Air Force One. The teeming crowds cheer their beloved leader as he rushes through the town via limo to save them.
Barak Obama takes the podium. The crowd cheers and hoots. But the President has a cough…He asks for a glass of water to soothe his throat. Then he takes a sip – a tiny, tiny little sip – of tap water and declares that Flint water is safe.
The Flint audience gasps and so do we. This is easily the finest moment of this otherwise forgettable film.
Viewers are going to be disappointed that Moore doesn’t attack Trump with the same intellectual passion as Clinton and Obama.
“How the **** did this happen?” Moore asks us with a straight face. The problem is, he already answered this question – splendidly – two years ago.
“Fahrenheit 11/9” isn’t just unfocused, it is insulting to the viewer. It feels like Moore is saying that it’s okay for his functionally literate fans to know to the even-handed truth about the 2016 election. However, the movie-viewing masses can only handle information in dumbed-down, easy to swallow accusations, conspiracy theories, and comedy skits.
“Fahrenheit 11/9” made me laugh a lot. But Michael Moore can do better than this. Skip the movie and read “5 Reasons Trump Will Win” instead.