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I find Michael Moore's documentaries to be utterly sad. You know, when you're a leftist (or me, at least) you are kinda used to be in a state of perpetual anger and forget to stop and think ultimately your political stance comes out of compassion. To see that the people of the United States, or from my own country for that matter, are less trusted by the State than prisoners in all the countries this film shows is utterly sad, it touches the soft spot. We're somehow used to be treated and treat the others as animals, and we don't take a moment to think that just maybe we're burnt out by our jobs and duties. It's shit, it's dehumanizing, and ultimately it rottens ourselves. When I was watching that section of the German maternity protection programs and the Italian vacations I was freaking out thinking that the State just shouldn't allow that kind of stuff. I don't know up to which point we see ourselves simply as things that work. And that's sad.
Anyway, too much hippie ranting.
Where to Invade Next is Michael Moore's most recent opinionated documentary, so let's get the politics of it out of the way up front. Moore makes films to make a specific point, and he uses the information that makes that point, along with humorous staged skits that wouldn't be caught dead in a so-called serious documentary. He does not present a complete and balanced picture, so don't use this as your only source for a school paper, but what you do find in his films, I think, is an emotional truth. In this one, he travels to various countries, mostly in Europe, to "invade" them and steal their best ideas for the United States. For example, since Sweden is #1 in education world-wide, he visits one of their schools, and contrasts it with what's happening in the States (and to some degree Canada, I'm afraid we're not as far as we'd like to pretend from Americanized policy in most areas). That isn't to say the selected countries don't have strife of any sort, but in the one selected aspect, they're doing better than us (which again isn't to say those systems don't have their own challenges). The reason a lot of people on the Right will feel the need to take every little thing in this film to task is because it really is about the triumph of Leftist ideas. Let that go. Good ideas that WORK should have no implied ideology, and the film plays on the consistent irony that hard stances on certain issues actually makes them more problematic. But regardless of the merits of any given solution put forward by another country (and how it might be implanted in a wholly different culture, population, economy), each country's example acts as a contrast to what the U.S. (and in some measure, the English-speaking countries I'm most familiar with, which is to say my own and the U.K.) can't seem to (want to?) solve. In the first act, I found myself teary-eyed at the differences between other parts of the First World and ourselves, as if it made our hardships more bitter still for them having been solved across the Pond. Where to Invade Next sometimes has the levity of a Michael Palin travelogue, but it's Moore' best and perhaps most subtly affecting film since Fahrenheit 9/11. And in the end, more patriotic than Moore's detractors are ever likely to admit.
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