Film review on Fahrenheit 11/9 - How did we get here?

“How did we get here?”  Michael Moore’s new film Fahrenheit 11/9 tackles the essential question regarding our current political climate. The film opens with a playback of the 2016 election, reliving Donald Trump’s journey from laughingstock to president of the United State. Juxtaposed with the title sequence, the making of a Trump wax statue elegantly supports the idea of making of a fake president.

Fahrenheit 11/9. The title is a smart number reversal of Moore’s 2004 film Fahrenheit 9/11. Both titles lead back to the 1953 novel Fahrenheit 451 by Roy Bradbury with the interpretation of destruction and losing one’s culture. It is not hard to interpret from the title that the filmmaker implies the election date is as devastating as the date of the terrorists attack.

Moore is as witty and charming as his old self is early in the film, where he mockingly dissected the real initiatives of Trump’s presidential run. And to those powerful men as Trump’s allies, Michael titled them “ sexual predators”.

As the film unfolds, we get into the real issues like the poisoned water situation in Flint, Michigan, which continues throughout the film. Moore finds much common ground between Governor Rick Snyder and President Donald Trump, suggesting that the water issue is a consequence of Trump’s encouragement of Snyder’s political direction. This seems to have little relevance to the story since the water crisis started in 2014 and Trump was elected in 2016, timeline of events gets confusing at times as the film continues to jump back and forth in time.

It was emotional and shattering to see what the people of Flint were going through on the big screen, and Michael Moore never fails at exposing the crimes of those who are powerful. At the same time, my brain can’t help but be alert to the manipulative powers of the filmmaker as well.

Other highlighted events include the West Virginia Teacher’s Strike. The women’s March in 2017 and corruption in the 2016 results of the Democratic Party presidential primaries. Moore interviewed a group of Bernie’s supporters who have claimed that Bernie won the majority of the states during the primary. But Hillary was elected to represent the Democrat party regardless, supported by lies from most of the states.

Again, I am not sure if this news is too disturbing to digest or that it is simply impossible. Like most, I find it hard to believe that all 50 states lied about the results. And knowing Michael Moore is a big Bernie Sander’s supporter makes his story even more biased and less reliable.

At this point, it felt like I was going through a brainwashing process. Is Michael Moore losing his craft? Or is he desperate enough to use the means he’s accusing Trump of flying to sway the audience in his direction?

It was definitely an emotional two hours. filled with doubts, tears, a lot of horror and anger; Uplifting news of the activism by the Parkland high school students was covered very well. It was very encouraging to see students making differences in the world at such a young age. Their capability and dedication is admirable. The use of new, inspired political candidates added positive tone to the film as well.

Inevitably the film draws parallels between Trump and Hitler, which is not a new statement but still as terrifying as it can get, and if achieved the urgency and fear the filmmaker was trying to evoke. But I find some of the special effects too gimmicky.

Last but not least, Moore depicts Donald Trump’s intention of campaigning for 2020 right after his 2016 election. The filmmaker warns the audiences of his plan of continuing his presidency endlessly.

I walked out of the theater feeling terrified, as if I had experienced a terrorist’s attack. Like the title suggested and the film implied - President Donald Trump is worse than any terrorist.

All in all, Fahrenheit 11/9 is an important film to see. Bernie Sander’s comment about media was illuminating. The blaming tone in the film and much disturbing information might be a turn off to a lot of audiences, and at times, the extreme view and dramatic predictions felt like the filmmaker’s hypothesis rather than the facts. But even with that, I have great respect for the filmmaker even if this is not his best work.

By Lulu Men, October 2018, thank you for reading.