Apparently, America does not rule. How could this be?
Having gotten tired of roaming around the United States, heckling for people and looking for something to complain about, Michael Moore has now headed overseas. Why, though? Well, it’s because he wants to, theoretically that is, “invade” these other countries on behalf of the United States of America and prove the countries dominance. And through this tour of his own doing, Moore sees how Europeans view all sorts of things differently from Americans like work, education, health care, sex, equality, and plenty more to come from there. Through all of his travels, we realize just how different America is from the rest of the world, sometimes, in good ways, as well as in some bad ways.
It’s obvious from watching Michael Moore’s movies that, well, he loves America. While he does an awful lot of moaning and criticizing the country, deep down inside, Moore just wants to be loved, accepted, and listened to as America’s spokesperson who, when a crisis arises, he is the first one the President makes the call to because, well, it’s his decision that matters the most. While this will probably never, ever happen for as long as anybody, as well as Moore himself, is alive, it’s still nice to see Moore constantly try his hardest to make himself seem and sound more important than he may actually be.
Which isn’t a hit on Michael Moore, as I found almost all of his documentaries as entertaining and interesting as the next, but Where to Invade Next is an especially odd addition to his filmography.
For one, it’s not nearly as controversial as you’d expect. With a title and premise like that, as well as knowing what Moore can do, you’d expect that a lot of Where to Invade Next be a lot of Moore knockin’ on doors, shocking conclusions being drawn at the drop of a hat, and plenty of those overly sentimental, downright annoying pieces of narration from Moore himself, but what we actually get is far different. Which is fine, as we get to see a lot of Moore talking to people about so much out there in the world that may be new information or not, but there’s still a feeling of disappointment watching this.
Most of that has to do with the fact that Moore doesn’t really seem to have much of a point to all that he’s doing here. In a way, it’s as if Moore himself wanted to travel to all of these countries for fun, see what they were all about, get paid to do so and, oh yeah, make a documentary about it all. Sure, he got to eat plenty of food, see plenty of lovely sights, and best of all, meet some pretty cool and happenin’ people, but really, he was there to really document just how different other countries are from America, right? Well, yeah, it appears that way, but the conclusion Moore makes at the end about how most of these European countries got their ideas from America is interesting, but seems to come at a time when Moore’s gone on for far too long about all of these other countries.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s no issue with highlighting some of the great things about these other countries around us.
A lot of the points, too, Moore makes, actually do seem to tickle the brain. The idea of free tuition seems totally fictional to me that hearing a whole country actually allow that for college students, as well as foreigners, was an absolute mind-blower. Not to mention that the point Moore brings up about how Germany hasn’t forgotten about the atrocities of the Holocaust and has instead, decided to teach its kids about what happened and why it matters. There’s plenty other interesting tidbits and anecdotes that Moore makes, but really, there’s a lack of focus that makes it seem less like there’s a message connecting everything and more or less, like Moore himself just wants to play around with all sorts of different ideas and methods.
There’s nothing wrong with this, but there’s a feeling that Moore’s better than this. Of course, a Michael Moore documentary can tend to be better than what most of us get out there and it’s nice to see him still trying his hardest to remind people that he still matters in today’s political landscape, but at the same time, where’s the hard-hitting questions and conclusions? Just saying that other countries are better than the U.S. because their economy is more lenient and nicer to its citizens, isn’t really enough; it may be true, but it doesn’t go anywhere if you don’t have the gall to back it up more.
Moore definitely does have the gall, but for some reason, it’s hardly shown here.
Instead, he’s too distracted by the different cultures and lifestyles these other countries have, most of which seem pretty normal. The kids in France have better school lunches; the kids in Iceland have no homework and instead, go outside and play more; the working-class in Italy have paid vacations are allowed to take off whenever they get sick; and yeah, there’s more. All of these are facts of life that Moore himself takes a look at and barely even scratches the surface of. Sure, he asks the questions, but to what length or extreme? Is this the same guy who constantly badgered away at Roger Smith, even when it was clear that he wasn’t going to get a single word in with him? Or, hell, is this the same guy who approached Charlton Heston and grilled him all about the NRA, to his face?
It definitely is, but here, it’s not really showing and it’s a huge issue when mostly everybody knows just the real Michael Moore is in there somewhere.
Consensus: Though it has some interesting points to make about many countries, Where to Invade Next misses the mark when it wants to feel important and have a point to introduce, but Michael Moore himself can’t really figure out which one to deliver on.
6 / 10
Photos Courtesy of: Indiewire