(US - 2018)
Written and directed by Michael Moore. (R, 128 mins)
"Was it all just a dream?"
That's the question asked by Michael Moore in the opening moments of FAHRENHEIT 11/9, a spiritual sequel of sorts to 2004's FAHRENHEIT 9/11. Thus begins a ten-minute recap of the days and hours leading up to Election Night 2016, thought by everyone to be a certain slam-dunk for Hillary Clinton. Champagne was already being uncorked. Cable news hosts and pundits were laughing out loud about the idea of a "President Trump." History was being made with a woman being elected President of the United States. Moore sets this montage to Rachel Platten's inspiring "Fight Song," though the context takes it from uplifting to excruciating, perhaps even cruel, in a matter of moments, countered with shots of Donald Trump's party at New York's Hilton Midtown accompanied by Jerry Goldsmith's iconic score for THE OMEN. By 2:00 am, it was clear that Trump was victorious. "At 2:29 am, on November 9, 2016, the image of the 45th President was projected onto the Empire State Building," Moore says. This PTSD-inducing flashback concludes with one question from the filmmaker: "How the fuck did this happen?"
ROGER & ME, spends the next two hours examining not just Trump, but what led to Trump, and what's become the new normal in the Age of Trump. Perhaps more than any of Moore's past documentaries, there's a palpable urgency and a barely-contained rage permeating FAHRENHEIT 11/9. Like a lot of Moore's work, it's very of-its-moment and will have a shorter-than-usual shelf life given the daily chaos of Trump's America (unlike, say, ROGER & ME, which has a timeless David vs. Goliath feel to it), and if you're going in expecting a smoking gun revelation about Russian collusion, this isn't that movie. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is seen in a split-second clip near the end and is never even mentioned by name. Moore quips in passing that, yes, Russia helped get Trump elected, and also, in his vintage sardonic fashion, posits an interesting and not-incredible theory laying it all on the shoulders of Gwen Stefani, the VOICE star who was making more per episode than Trump was getting for THE APPRENTICE. Moore claims that Trump was trying to get more money out of NBC, so he staged a fake announcement that he was running for president (cue the clip of that ride down the escalator) that backfired when he gave an insane, almost stream-of-consciousness speech that included comments about Mexicans being drug dealers and rapists. NBC fired him, but he already had two rallies booked. That, Moore says, is when Trump had his epiphany, basking in the idolatry of the adoring crowds and concluding "This might not be so bad."
|Michael Moore and Donald Trump on
Roseanne Barr's talk show in 1998.
How the fuck did this happen?