Now showing in Hong Kong

Film review: Where to Invade Next – Michael Moore thinks big for America

Documentary tour of European countries intended to show a Donald Trump-led United States how to do things better

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 November, 2016, 8:05am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 November, 2016, 8:05am

3/5 stars

In spite of its headline-grabbing title, Where to Invade Next has little to do with war. Michael Moore’s idea for it is to visit a few European countries to see what they do better than the United States, so he can show the folks back home how they can improve their country.

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Having covered health care already, the director focuses this time on workers’ rights and civic rights: open prisons in Norway, the right to free education in Finland, the legal right to take time off work in Italy, and so on.

Moore does a good job of introducing US viewers to different perspectives, and the movie is aimed at a home audience who might not be aware that countries like Slovenia even exist, let alone know what they do differently. But his documentary film is flawed because it makes the US look like a third-world dictatorship, which it isn’t, and Europe seem like a workers’ paradise, which it also isn’t.

Moore’s examination of Finland’s educational system should interest Hong Kong’s liberal-arts evangelists. Finland’s education system is often called the best in the world, yet no Finns are charged any school or university fees. What’s more, schoolchildren are not given any homework at all – instead, they are encouraged to spend their downtime playing and meeting their friends.

For those curious about the film’s militaristic title: it was chosen because US citizens pay only slightly less tax than most Europeans, but get few social services in return, because more of US taxpayers’ money is spent on the military.

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Where to Invade Next opens on November 17

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