Fahrenheit 11/9

Fahrenheit 11/9

(2018)

Tyrant. Liar. Racist. A hole in one.

Palme d'Or-winning documentarian Michael Moore takes a look at Donald Trump's rise to the US presidency on November 9, 2016.... More

"Moore brings his sharp satire to analyze the legacy of 11/9 and to raise questions about what lies ahead. Trump is a master distractor with his incendiary tweets, staff firings, and outright lies. But within the chaos, his administration has delivered on a right-wing agenda with tax cuts for the wealthy, environmental deregulation, court appointments, and treaty withdrawals that will be felt long into the future." (Toronto International Film Festival)Hide

Flicks Review

How does Michael Moore make a documentary in his classic style amid the current state of America? It seems like an obsolete format, given the staggering amount of news articles about the current tenant of the White House that come out daily along with the baffling, incriminating tweets he frequently posts himself. Alas, I was very pleasantly surprised at just how relevant and valuable this feature feels, but Moore makes a few large missteps that stop it from being a great film.... More

Thankfully, Trump himself doesn't feature a great deal in Fahrenheit 11/9. His ghastly orange shadow hangs over everything, for sure, but he's merely a symptom of the sickness this film examines. It wisely doesn't catalogue his crimes and innumerable outrages, assuming audience knowledge on that front and attempting instead to look at the bigger picture.

The sad tale of the Flint water crisis is the heart of this movie and I can't imagine many people getting through it with dry eyes. Seeing the devastation of a community literally poisoned by corporate greed is truly heartbreaking. The voiceover calling it "ethnic cleansing", however, is an unnecessary overshoot.

Moore's demonising of the news media is one of the more dangerous elements of the film. Journalism is suffering a crisis internationally—under attack from despots and facing crumbling revenues. Indeed, news outlets are one of the many guilty players in getting Trump elected as US president, but a free press is a vital to holding him and other tyrants to account. The last thing we need is the supposed good guys chucking petrol on the fire.

But perhaps the most foolish section is when we get to the Nazi stuff. Trump is explicitly likened to Hitler in a way that's played for laughs one minute, then meant to be awfully sobering the next. The Third Reich leader's rise to power is comparable in ways to the former host of The Apprentice, but there's simply no getting around how alarmist this feels.

Moore's ecstatic championing of the new progressive movement in the US and the March for our Lives group seems a touch naive, but it sure as shit feels good to have it as a glimmer of hope in an otherwise depressing, often upsetting documentary. This is not the definitive account of the Trump era some may have hoped for, but it's nonetheless a powerful and moving film I recommend, despite its problems.Hide


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The Press Reviews

  • There is much food for thought in the film, shot with the director's characteristic passion, flair, wicked sense of humour and willingness to push the envelope. Full Review

  • Few can match Moore's gift for agitprop mischief when he's in this mood, and things build to an apocalyptic crescendo, complete with warnings of authoritarianism, armed insurrection, and even nuclear war. Full Review

  • Fahrenheit 11/9 is funny and mischievous in parts, but too little of it feels fresh or shocking. Full Review

  • The movie, in its way, summons something ominous and powerful. It's not a screed - it's a warning. It says, quite wisely: Take action now, or you may no longer have the opportunity to do so. Full Review

  • This isn't his smoothest film, but it's his fullest and most original. It's also his most urgent, which is really saying something. Full Review

  • An uneven but appropriately rousing attack on Trump, which occasionally loses its focus as it makes its bigger, scarier points about the United States' slide into despotism. Full Review

  • Fahrenheit 11/9 consolidates that rage so well that even as it's only occasionally effective, I'm hesitant to write off the film entirely. Full Review

  • But what makes Moore's latest so ferocious - and pound for pound his most effective piece of journalism - is the way it pivots to a meaty central subject that isn't Trump but has prescient echoes. Full Review

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