Hot Take: Technically, a 2015 holdover, Where to Invade Next is the latest Michael Moore documentary where Moore shows us how not great the United States is by showing us how great the rest of the world is. As always, it’s eye opening… and heavy handed. This Moore documentary feels more like propaganda than any previous effort.
The one thing I hate about Michael Moore documentaries is the feeling of disappointment toward my native country that I feel once it’s over. However, watching Where to Invade Next, some of Moore’s choices (and bashes) of our country were overreaching and narrow minded. The irony is while his documentary seemed to point the finger at the United States for becoming less thoughtful and progressive, I felt the same way about Moore watching this film.
Moore’s latest documentary is a lopsided, one-sided affair. Based on the narrative, you’d get the impression that the U.S. does it all wrong and every other country visited is nirvana. Sure, that’s not his point but it often seems that way in the telling.
Also, some of the criticisms chosen by Moore made him seem very close minded and a little short on the investigative side. While reviewing Italy’s worker-friendly rights (eight paid weeks vacation, 15 days paid honeymoon leave and five months paid maternity), he discussed how the Italians get an extra month’s pay in December. From the sound of Moore’s documentary, the Italians have it made. Ironically, when looking at the average pay by each country (never mentioned in the documentary), according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the average American has an average disposable income of $45,363 while the average Italian has $21,190 to spend. The cost of living in Italy is only slightly less. So, there’s (as always) trade-offs. If the average American company were to, say, slash salaries in half, they could double their workforce and afford to give out loads of vacation at the same prices they are paying now. I’m not sure anyone is willing to take half their pay for an extra 6 weeks vacation… but maybe they are.
This is just one example of times where it felt like maybe Moore (who admits to paying attention to only the positive side of the other countries) is only giving us one side of one side of the story. It happens more frequently in Where to Invade Next than any of his previous documentaries. In most cases, I agree with Moore. I actually agree with many of the topics he takes on in Where to Invade Next. But painting the whole picture is important and it doesn’t feel like Moore was willing to use all of the colors on the palette with his latest effort. The documentary makes you think, though.
“Spoiler Free” Pros
- Someone Else Might Be Doing It Better
There are plenty of great ideas out there (many originated here) and we need to be willing to look at what other countries do right and attempt to implement them here.
- Moore Admits He Doesn’t Look At the Problems of Other Countries
While discussing the great ideas other countries have implemented, Moore does disclose he’s not interested in looking at the problems of other countries.
“Spoiler Free” Cons
- Propaganda At It’s Best
Without looking at the problems other countries have, it’s hard to truly evaluate how “great” these ideas are. You have to take the good with the bad to provide any real insight.
- Heavy Handed
By the end, you’d think Moore hates America. He doesn’t but those not open to his opinion sure will use that against him. In this instance, he dumps a lot of fuel on that fire.