In his latest documentary, Michael Moore ‘invades’ several countries to learn about an aspect of their system that he could possibly take back to America with him.
Moore decides ‘Where to Invade Next’ as he plants a flag in each country he visits. These countries were chosen by him because they do something better than America - it’s European Socialism he says. He first visits Italy, where they get seven weeks of vacation, versus the U.S. standard of only two weeks. We meet a couple who make the most of their seven weeks, travelling during their time off and planning a longer holiday in August when the country practically shuts down. They even get 15 days off for their honeymoon! Then he visits an elementary school in France. His visit is timed with their lunch hour. He’s shocked to see how civil the kids are during lunch, how the food is practically gourmet, and how serious the school’s chef and the school system take over the nutritional content of their lunch. This in comparison, he shows us, of the lunch provided to the American school children which appears to be largely unidentifiable slop on a plate. He next visits Norway, where we see a prison that is nestled in a beautiful location where the prisoners lounge around, have pretty much all the amenities of home, and are treated like human beings, unlike in American where the prisons are overcrowded and extremely dangerous. Among other countries is a visit to Slovenia, where college education is free. Students don’t have a huge debt to pay once they get out of college. We meet a few American college students at a college in Slovenia who are happy attending a school that’s free and where there are more then 100 courses taught in English, where in the U.S. students protest over ever increasing college fees (and huge debt after leaving school). And Moore brings up an excellent point when he visits Iceland and discovers that the one bank that didn’t fail during the 2008 financial crises was a bank run by women. He likens that if Lehman Brothers were run by women (‘Lehman Sisters) it probably would not have failed. And Finland, where they’ve abolished homework for their students with the emphasis being spending free time with friends and doing what makes you happy.
Moore brings up a lot of valid points in ‘Where to Invade Next’ that makes you wonder how certain countries are able to better provide for their citizens while the U.S can’t do anything close . Moore has written and directed several controversial (and popular) documentaries including ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ (the aftermath of American from 9/11 - which is the highest grossing documentary ever) and ‘Bowling for Columbine’ (his Oscar-winning documentary about gun violence in the U.S. in the aftermath of the deadly massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado). ‘Where to Invade to Next’ might be one of his most light-hearted documentaries, and also a bit silly with the premise of ‘planting’ an American flag in each country he visits. But as usual he makes valid points that are useful comparisons of the American way of doing things versus the European way of doing things. And while during the film he visits world leaders and opinion makers, he makes absolutely no effort to dress and clean himself up before these meetings. But there’s lots to learn in ‘Where to Invade Next,’ to learn how countries do things better than America. According to Moore, ‘The American dream is alive and well, but not in America!'
'Where to Invade Next’ is now playing in UK cinemas. On Friday June 10th there will be a live stream Q&A session with Moore from the Sheffield Documentary Film Festival that will be shown across 127 screen in both the UK and Ireland. To get tickets for this, please go to: http://tickets.wheretoinvadenext.co.uk