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With: Michael Moore
Written by: Michael Moore
Directed by: Michael Moore
MPAA Rating: R for language and some disturbing material/images
Running Time: 126
Date: 09/21/2018

Fahrenheit 11/9 (2018)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Trump Change

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Michael Moore's latest non-fiction movie is a proudly subjective patchwork, scampering in many different directions, but it's also by far his most vital, cautionary, and urgent work; it's unmissable.

In Fahrenheit 11/9, filmmaker Michael Moore looks at the night of the 2016 presidential election, which was expected to have gone to Hillary Clinton, but instead went to Donald Trump, and asks "how did this happen?" He explores Trump's various crimes and manipulations, noting that they have always been committed in plain sight, and that his followers don't care; they only believe in him.

Moore sidesteps and explores an atrocity committed by Trump's friend, Michigan governor Rick Snyder, who tried to make a profit on water by switching the water supply of the residents of Flint to poisonous river water — and got away with it. Moore traces parallels with the Germany of the 1930s and the rise of Adolf Hitler to the USA now. He follows young, outspoken activists who desperately want changes in gun violence, health care, and other hot issues. But he leaves off with a warning. We are not as safe as we think.

In Fahrenheit 11/9 — whose title is deliberately intended to echo his famous Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) — Moore seems calmer, more razor-focused on his thesis and less intent on stunts or humor; he tries one half-hearted stunt, but abandons it fairly quickly. He digs deep into the Flint, Michigan water catastrophe and details the exact way in which Governor Snyder managed to change the balance of power so that he could pull off his scheme. The shocks continue as detail after evil detail are revealed.

This is coolly compared with the state of Germany in the 1930s and the rise of Hitler, with each event outlined as its own somewhat logical step in a scenario that became terrifying and unthinkable. Donald Trump takes a few hits here, but he's not the dead center of Moore's target; the America that elected Trump is still troubled at its core, and is on the way to making more mistakes.

The movie shows the only ray of hope: young, grass-roots activists speaking out and running for office, trying to set things right again. But Moore isn't interested in allowing us to feel hopeful. Wondering if things haven't already gone too far, Fahrenheit 11/9 leaves off on a down note, and it feels as if the only response is either to give up or to get mad and do something.

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