"Tyrant. Liar. Racist. A Hole in One." This is Fahrenheit 11/9. This political documentary by filmmaker Michael Moore. Moore predicted that Donald Trump would become the 45th president of the United States. Traveling across the country, Moore interviews American citizens to get a sense of the social, economic and political impact of Trump's victory. Moore also takes an in-depth look at the media, the Electoral College, the government agenda and his hometown of Flint, Michigan.
In May 2017, Moore and producers Harvey and Bob Weinstein partnered to produce and distribute the film. The Weinsteins planned to fund $2 million out of $6 million in a documentary deal. However, after the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations emerged in the following October, the Weinsteins did not provide the funding. As a result, Moore laid off the crew and shut down development of the documentary. Before resuming production on the film, Moore focused on putting on a Broadway show, The Terms of My Surrender, which ran for 12 weeks. Production of the documentary eventually resumed with between $4 million and $5 million in private funding. As part of filming, Moore made a clandestine visit to the Florida resort Mar-a-Lago owned by President Trump and mingled at the resort for 15 minutes before being escorted out by security. The film's title refers to November 9, when Trump's 2016 presidential win was announced. The title simultaneously serves as a callback to Moore's 2004 political documentary Fahrenheit 9/11.
Fahrenheit 11/9 is less an exposé of Donald Trump than a dramatization of what Moore sees as a failed and dangerous presidency. Extremely one-sided in its indictment of the Trump administration, but worth watching for the humour and the debates it’ll stir. Little of this information is new, but Moore packages what’s already known about Trump and his presidency into a piece of rhetoric so persuasive that the Trump re-election campaign could spend the next three years trying to refute it. Moore’s fierce and funny film is not so much a documentary as a mythology, reducing geopolitical complexities to a neat, tawdry narrative. This is Moore’s least powerful film – the smallest in scope, the least resource and skilful in means – and the best things in it have little to do with his usual ideological take on American power and Donald Trump. However, Moore brings an interesting impact to familiar material by the way he marshals his images. This is the most comprehensive diatribe ever filmed against Trump and his cronies (even though, by necessity, its is focused primarily on Michigan). Sometimes slipshod in its making and, of course, it has no interest in overall fairness to Trump. But it vents an anger about this presidency that, as the film’s ardent reception shows, seethes in many of us. Much more than a scathing indictment of Bush-era complicity, Moore’s exposé lays bare the devastating heartbreak now central to America’s reality. People say Moore is Un-American for creating a documentary against the president, let alone two documentaries, well, it’s Un-American not to explore other’s views.
Simon says Fahrenheit 11/9 receives:
Also, see my review for Where to Invade Next.