Dir. Michael Moore
21 September 2018
I do not attend the First Church of Michael Moore. His heavy-handedness is bothersome to me. From my position as teacher, I found Bowling for Columbine to be shortsighted and problematic. Complex issues cannot be remedied with a crowbar.
I honestly walked into Fahrenheit 11/9 just needing to take the piss in Trump’s direction amid the Kavanaugh hell in which I am living. What I found was a film that was interesting in the ways in which it exemplifies none of Moore’s weaknesses...or strengths.
This at bat finds a Moore who admits to his willingness to embrace Trump and his support staff when it was beneficial. He confesses his complicity and, indirectly, ours. That is, perhaps, the greatest power of the film. He shows that we let it happen by showing that he let it happen. For once, we are behind the camera watching him make decisions he was bound to regret. This humility seems to be a bit of integrity that we might need to mimic before we can get to work. That is an important lesson, here. We cannot address the issue if we give ourselves a pass at being not an ounce at fault.
Moore’s method of building an argument is usually meticulous in its construction. At best, Fahrenheit 11/9 is disjointed, but amid the rapid pace of present history, that might be overlooked. Moore gets mired down in a Flint narrative that tangentially relates to the issues at hand by connecting them to President Obama, but the length of time spent building the case might not be worth the payoff in comparison for the tighter storytelling around it. I found myself wanting to watch a Michael Moore Flint doc, but not in the middle of this film. Instead, I genuinely missed how Moore usually makes ever tighter circles around his prey before inviting his audience to join the feast.
Overall, Fahrenheit 11/9 is a touch meandering, a bit stage-y, and entirely a conviction of the “good ones” who need to do better. It is far from perfect, but it might still be exactly what we need to hear right now.