A documentary review written by: Lee Sonogan
Michael Moore: I am an American. I live in a great country, that was born in genocide and built on the backs of slaves.
The latest Michael Moore documentary I have seen. It deals with alternative methods of dealing with social and economic issues experienced in the USA. This film is in the style of a travelogue with Moore spending time in countries such as Italy, France, Finland, Tunisia, Slovenia, Germany and Portugal. IMDB describes this documentary as (To learn what the USA can learn from other nations, Michael Moore playfully “invades” them to see what they have to offer,). Michael Moore’s first documentary in 6 years at the time with his last one was Capitalism: A Love Story in 2009.
According to Moore, not a single frame of his documentary is shot on location in the USA. While having a limited run in very late 2015, they submitted it to qualify for the Oscars. A few months later it was released world-wide across 308 screen. The documentary was well received with positive reviews from critics and people alike. The documentary made $4.46 million at the box office. Michael Moore was hospitalized with life-threatening pneumonia the week the film opened and had to cancel all his publicity appearances.
Countries and topics in order of appearance from Wikipedia:
- Italy: labor rights and workers’ well-being – paid holiday, paid honeymoon, thirteenth salary, two-hour lunch breaks, paid parental leave, speaking with the executives of Lardini and Claudio Domenicali, the CEO of Ducati
- France: school meals and sex education
- Finland: education policy (almost no homework, no standardized testing), speaking with Krista Kiuru, the Finnish Minister of Education. Moore notes that music and poetry have been eliminated in the American K-12 education system.
- Slovenia: debt-free/tuition-free higher education, speaking with Ivan Svetlik, University of Ljubljana’s rector, and Borut Pahor, the President of Slovenia. The University of Ljubljana teaches at least 100 courses in English.
- Germany: labor rights and work–life balance, visiting pencil manufacturer Faber-Castell, and the value of honest, frank national history education, particularly as it relates to Nazi Germany
- Portugal: May Day, drug policy of Portugal, universal health care, and the abolition of the death penalty
- Norway: humane prison system, visiting the minimum-security Bastøy Prison and maximum-security Halden Prison, and Norway’s response to the 2011 Utøya attacks
- Tunisia: women’s rights, including reproductive health, access to abortion and their role in the Tunisian Revolution and the drafting of the Tunisian Constitution of 2014. Rached Ghannouchi disapproves of compulsory hijab, saying, “The state should not tell women how to dress, or interfere in their lives.”
- Iceland: women in power, speaking with Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, the world’s first democratically elected female president; the Best Party with Jón Gnarr being elected Mayor of Reykjavík City; the 2008–11 Icelandic financial crisis and the criminal investigation and prosecution of bankers, with special prosecutor Ólafur Hauksson
- The fall of the Berlin Wall
Overall this documentary has a great variety of subjects on important issues. While some may mock the socialist methods Europe use because they pay higher taxes, these small countries in the film show that maybe it could work for other countries if did the right way without any corruption. Edited in classic Michael Moore fashion. Appropriate humour with content intended to creat an emotional response. And very entertaining while being thought-provoking. I recommend this documentary to anyone who want to see how other countries are successful at using socialism to benefit the people and the country.
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