Where to Invade Next

Rated: R

        Warning: I saw this film a couple of months ago, but have been thinking about how to write this review ever since. Although the film itself never makes mention of any of the current presidential candidates, or their platforms, I’m not entirely sure I can write this review while remaining unbiased. Please keep in mind as you read the rest of this that I tried my best to keep my own political beliefs to myself, but you may see glimpses of them from time to time. It’s certainly not my intention to offend, but it may end up being inevitable at some point during this. Sorry!

Michael Moore in Where to Invade Next (Photo courtesy of wheretoinvadenext.com)

Michael Moore in Where to Invade Next (Photo courtesy of wheretoinvadenext.com)

        Where to Invade Next is controversial filmmaker Michael Moore’s first film in 6 years, the last being Capitalism: a Love Story. Through the years it has taken me a while to warm up to Michael Moore and his films. Thinking back I can’t figure out what I had against him, but for a long time I was dead set against anything he said or did.

         In 2004 I began to open up to Moore and his films when my husband convinced me to see
Fahrenheit 9/11. There were so many moments during that film that I agreed with everything Moore had to say, that afterwards I had to re-examine my mental persecution of him and open my mind to the possibility that he wasn’t so bad after all.

        In the years to come I made sure to see any film that Moore made. In 2007 when I saw
Sicko I remember how shocked I was to see behind the curtain of the healthcare industry, (while on the other hand, I wasn’t really shocked at all). It became clear to me afterwards that no matter how much I thought I knew about a subject (in this case healthcare), there always seemed to be a plethora of eye opening moments and unknown information that Moore’s films provided.

        Which is why as soon as I heard on Twitter from Moore that he was soon to release his newest film,
Where to Invade Next, I knew I had to see it, no matter what. I had no idea what it was about, (although I thought, given the title, it had something to do with our American “interventions” across the globe), but it didn’t matter. It’s a Michael Moore film, which to me means its worth seeing.

        It turns out
Where to Invade Next had nothing to do with American global “interventions”. In the film Moore travels to other countries (I’ll get into which ones specifically in a moment), “invades” them, and “claims” their good ideas for our own.

        Over the course of the 2 hour long documentary Moore visits 9 countries, (not including the US of course!), France, Germany, Slovenia, Italy, Portugal, Tunisia, Iceland, Norway and Finland. In each country he “steals” the good ideas that have made the people of that country happy and healthy.

Michael Moore Speaks to the CEO of Ducati (Photo courtesy of wheretoinvadenext.com)

Michael Moore Speaks to the CEO of Ducati (Photo courtesy of wheretoinvadenext.com)

        In Italy Moore highlights how much paid time off workers throughout the country get, standard, and how much healthier, happier and more productive they are in return. In France he emphasizes the difference in quality and cost of the lunches the children get at school. In Germany he shows that there is a strong middle class, no one has a second or third job, it is illegal for a boss to contact you about work when you’re not working, and the other worker’s rights the people of Germany enjoy. In Slovenia he focuses on their university system and how it is free for everyone, including those from other countries. In Portugal he examines how they’ve decriminalized all drugs, done away with the death penalty and provided free treatment programs for any who need them. In Iceland and Tunisia Moore proves that empowering women is better for a country as a whole. In Norway he shows that prisons don’t have to be brutal, terrible places. In Finland he accentuates the way their schools are run, and how they have shorter school days, little to no homework and no standardized testing and yet their students are considered among the brightest in the world. For each country he also mentions that many of them have free university and all of them have universal healthcare for the entire population.

        In each of the above examples Moore compares the various systems of each country to how things are done in the US.  For much of the film I found myself dreaming of moving to these wonderful places and thinking “THAT would be nice!” Towards the end of the film though, Moore reveals that all of these “wonderful” ideas originated in America, and some are even mentioned in our constitution.

        Like him or hate him, Moore’s films are thought provoking and insightful. After seeing
Where to Invade Next I felt defeated on the one hand, after seeing how “green the grass is” in other places, but I also felt a glimmer of hope on the other hand. Hope that if we work together to straighten out some of these issues it will make, America, and the world a better place to live. Can a film that gives one hope really be bad? I don’t think so!
        Where to Invade Next is rated R, was written by, directed by, produced by and stars Michael Moore. It will be released on Blu Ray, DVD and Digital Download on May 10, 2016.