Michael Moore is a bit of a trial. He’s a ham who manages to insert quite a bit of himself into every documentary he makes, whether the subject warrants it or not (mostly not). I also think he’s a patriot in the truest sense of the word: he questions things, not to tear down the country he considers to be great, but to make it even greater.
Where To Invade Next sounds like another documentary about George W.’s failed wars and his love of randomly selecting countries to pillage. It’s not. Moore is symbolically “invading” various European countries so that he may “steal” their best ideas and bring them home for implementation. He looks at labour rights, education, women’s reproductive health, the financial crisis, and prison systems – inarguably ALL things that the USA is currently getting wrong. Just all kinds of wrong. Moore visits countries to “pick their flowers”, not their weeds, and cherry picks the best reforms that seem workable and right.
And that’s the infuriating thing about Michael Moore. His methods aren’t exactly truthful, but he’s right. He’s not concerned about appearing unbiased. He doesn’t need to consider the other side. He presents things as he sees them, in a persuasive and personal way. Which is why Michael Moore is perhaps the most well-known documentarian, at least in America. He makes documentaries that people care to watch. Hell, they sometimes even screen in theatres. Real theatres!
Unfortunately, Moore has never been good at converting people. Teaching us – sure. But he won’t convince anyone who’s not already on board. In Where to Invade Next, Moore visits 9 countries, and they’re all quite worthy. Unfortunately, some of the principles require more than 10 minutes worth of explanation. His ideas are sound, but like my math teachers would always tell me: show your work! Giving us the answers has only limited appeal. We want to know how you got there. This film is simply Socialism 101, a scratch-the-surface survey course with an affable, wheezy professor.