Coming to theatres today, Friday, September 14:
James D Stern
Zurich, Martha’s Vineyard
Another look back at the 2016 US Presidential election.
The unlikely ascent of Donald Trump to the top of the Republican Party ticket motivates director James D Stern – a lifelong Democrat – to try to understand the businessman’s appeal to his supporters. Stern – who appears on camera in Michael Moore mode, but unassuming where that veteran director is instead confrontational – sets out across the country expressly just to listen, rather than to debate. The results, this long after the events of 11/08/16, are not at all surprising – Trump supporters range from individuals with legitimate viewpoints, acknowledging some of their candidate’s negative aspects, but willing to let them slide, to those with a pathological hatred of Hillary Clinton and a persecution complex. All along, Stern, only rarely so incensed to very delicately challenge some outright lies being spouted, lets them have the stage, subjecting the film’s viewers to his exasperation after the fact. His is a well-intentioned project, but it doesn’t reveal anything really new, and it’s hard to imagine who will want to revisit this terrain yet again.