- Matthew Turner
- 15 October 2018
Michael Moore's impassioned latest documentary examines the political landscape that gave rise to Trump
Inverting the title of 2004's Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Moore's latest documentary is a blistering state of the union address that takes aim at both President Trump and the broken political system that lead to his election. The 11/9 of the title refers to the 9th of November 2016, when Trump was officially confirmed as President, and Moore's first question is an impassioned cry of "How the f**k did this happen?"
The first section of the film examines Trump's rise, with Moore's trademark wit in full flow; especially when he points out that Trump only announced his candidacy because he found out Gwen Stefani was getting more from NBC for The Voice than he was getting for The Celebrity Apprentice.
Thereafter, Moore's focus shifts, once again, to his hometown of Flint, Michigan, where he lays bare the scandalous water crisis that resulted in the lead poisoning of thousands of children. Initially, it seems as if the film is losing focus, but Moore pulls it together, linking the cronyism and manipulation perpetrated by Republican Governor Rick Snyder to some of the practices of the Trump administration. Moore doesn't let Obama off the hook either, highlighting his betrayal of Flint with a disgraceful stunt involving a glass of water in one of the film's most depressing sequences.
Moore's anger is felt in every frame of the film and, while you can take issue with some of his decisions (there's no criticism of Bernie Sanders, for example), there's no denying the heartfelt nature of his argument. More importantly, he sounds an urgent warning, drawing frightening comparisons between Trump and a certain other populist leader – in the film's cheekiest conceit, he dubs a Trump speech over footage of the Nuremberg rallies and it works a little too well.
Thankfully, it's not all doom and gloom, as Moore also finds notes of hope, devoting significant time to the West Virginia teachers who went on strike and won, and the heartening student activist movement that grew out of the Parkland High School shootings.
Released Fri 19 Oct.