Coming to NYC and LA theatres tomorrow, Wednesday, December 23: WHERE TO INVADE NEXT
Michael Moore’s subversive invasion of other nations had its world premiere at Toronto this Fall. It went on to screen at DOC NYC, the New York Film Festival, Hamptons, Denver, AFI Fest, and Philadelphia, among other events. The film has been shortlisted for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. After this exclusive NYC and LA run, Moore will sneak peek the doc in a state-by-state tour for six weeks starting January 4 before its national rollout beginning February 12.
Moore’s latest begins with an imagined scenario in which the Joint Chiefs of Staff turn to the provocateur, offer a mea culpa for the mess they’ve made in ever war since WWII, and ask for his advice on our next international power play. As a response to this wish fulfillment, Moore agrees to take charge of America’s future invasions. The twist, of course, is that Moore imagines himself as a one-man army corps, heading into other nations to claim their best ideas for the good old US of A, and bringing along a big flag to make his claim. In Italy, he sets his sights on paid work leave; in France, on quality, nutritious school lunches; in Finland, on a revamped public school system that has parted ways with homework and standardized testing; in Slovenia, on a free university program for foreigners; in Iceland, on female leadership; and in Germany, on an honest reckoning with the country’s historical crimes. Along the way, Moore overindulges in the role of the stereotypical ignorant, ill-informed American – essentially spit-taking his way through the utopian factoids offered up here that put the US system to shame – and critics will find it ridiculously easy to point out how one-sided the director’s version of these policies are presented, since there are no dissenting voices here, nor any acknowledgement of the things that are going badly in any of the countries he’s visiting. But that’s fine – for the project that Moore has undertaken, there never is any pretense that he will offer a comprehensive overview of European sociopolitical ills. As facile as his “invasion” may seem, and as much as it’s a distinct case of preaching to the converted, the doc does underscore significant places where our own approaches are wanting and are in desperate need of an overhaul. If Moore’s “gee whiz” approach might wear a bit thin, the general optimism he pushes here is still a welcome change of pace from the more typical strident approach that has gotten to be fairly one-note in the past.