“Was it all a dream?” This is the question that opens Fahrenheit 11/9 the latest, and most invigorated work in years, from director Michael Moore. The dream he is referring to is the unanimous consensus on the eve of the 2016 Presidential Election that Hillary Clinton was going to be the first female president in American history. However, the dream could also be the vision of America that no longer, if ever, exists.
Pondering how America got to a point where a man like Donald J. Trump could be elected president despite not have any experience, or real interest in the job, Moore’s film is a scathing indictment of a country where democracy has been reduced to a buzz word that sedates people from the pain inflicted by corporate interest. Starting from when Trump first announced his intensions to run, a publicity stunt to get a pay raise out of NBC; and journeying up to recent events like the rise of student activism in Parkland and the historic number of female governmental candidates like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Fahrenheit 11/9 holds a sprawling mirror up to the harsh truths of American life.
Expertly showing how governmental corruption on many levels set the path for Trumps accession, especially those in Flint, Michigan who gave the GM plant clean water to use while most of their actual population still only has polluted water to drink, Moore’s film is an effective rallying cry for action. Taking pointed aim at Republican and Democrat political parties, a media that made millions off Trump’s antics, and American citizens who failed to speak out against Trump’s openly racist remarks on the campaign trail, the film shows everyone had a part to play.
One minor criticism is that, due to the range of topics the film touches on, the veers off on tangents at times. While Moore always finds a way to steer the film back on track, the film could have been a bit tighter in its editing. Regardless, Fahrenheit 11/9 is a powerful and sobering look at the way the American dream has blinded a nation to the dark realities that can no longer be ignored.