Thursday, April 18, 2024

Michael Moore Rocks Toronto Film Fest with Secret Doc “Where to Invade Next”


Michael Moore opened the 40th Toronto Film Festival with his most optimistic, upbeat movie yet. Where to invade next. The title reflects a humorous travelog as Moore “invades” several countries to find the best in education, women’s rights, nutrition, and so on. Moore’s critics may be disarmed by his positive take on how America could learn lessons from the world. At the same time he doesn’t slap the U.S. but points out how areas could be improved. It’s funny too. Good work.

Moore joked before and after the screening- which received a massive standing ovation and cheers- that this was the first time he’d made a film without a distribution deal. He wanted to start the auction right away. Reps from all the movie companies were in the audience, and many — even studios like Paramount– were scrambling to see if they could make “Invade” their Oscar nominee this year in the documentary category.

The movie is a huge crowdpleaser. Unlike Moore’s investigative work in “Bowling for Columbine” and “Fahrenheit 911” this film takes a mellower, gentler approach. Moore sweeps the Western world looking for social improvements created but abandoned by the U.S. The movie is more about how America has lost its way and can find one back from looking at how other countries were inspired by us.

There are no “Gotcha” moments but Moore does get his digs in. Goldman Sachs’ Lloyd Blankfein gets a little zetz, and corporate America is certainly upbraided.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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