Written, directed and starring Michael Moore

In his latest documentary, Michael Moore travels the world looking for what other countries are doing right. For instance, Italy gives its citizens three months a year away from their job and paid maternity leaves. France feeds its kids school lunches that most U.S. restaurants could not produce in terms of nutrition, taste, variety, and attractiveness. When Moore lets the French kids sample what kids here eat for lunch, they are appalled. Chicken fingers, mon dieux.

There is no homework in Denmark, the school week is shorter, there are no standardized tests. Moore also finds prisons that rehabilitate without resembling medieval dungeons. In Germany, employers include workers on every board. You get the idea. Ironically, many of these ideas originated in the U.S. and were discarded as too expensive, too impractical.

The film manages to be humorous at times but also despairing. More and more, you can see (although Moore doesn’t say this outright) it was unions that made workplaces, schools, prisons and life in general better for the middle class. And as we have allowed business and state governments to demean the place of unions, life has grown more difficult for the rest of us.

I think this would have worked better as a TV series than it does as a movie. Even for someone who agrees with Moore’s philosophy, it feels like piling on. Still, we need to see such things. But give us the spoonful of sugar we need to make it go down easier.

Patti Abbott
In addition to being the Crimespree Senior Film Critic, Patti has penned numerous short stories and her debut novel, CONCRETE ANGEL, is in stores now. She hosts a look at Forgotten Books every Friday with readers, writers and reviewers at pattinase.blogspot.com. She hopes you’ll join in.