WHERE TO INVADE NEXT – Review by Susan Granger

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Always controversial Michael Moore, whose “Fahrenheit 9/11” remains the highest-grossing documentary of all time, turns his attention to contemporary humanitarian issues by exploring how other countries handle similar problems. Beginning with an imaginary meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, D.C., activist Moore launches a travelogue “invasion” around the globe, delving into vacation time, incarceration, education, drug decriminalization, the workforce and women’s rights. Read on….

He finds an Italian couple enjoying their daily two-hour lunches and several weeks of government-mandated holiday, a French chef preparing nourishing school lunches for elementary students, rehabilitation-oriented Norwegian prisoners carrying keys to their private rooms, and Slovenian students receiving a free college education.

Portuguese police officers don’t arrest people for drug possession; in Tunisia (a Muslim country), abortions are government subsidized; and, in Iceland, under its first woman president (Vigdis Finnbogadottir) corrupt CEOs of failed banks were prosecuted and sent to prison.

Of course, Moore never mentions that Italy has an unemployment rate that’s more than double ours. Among other facts that he selectively chooses to ignore are Germany’s current race relations dilemma, highlighted by its neo-Nazis and harsh treatment of Turkish immigrants, and the economic challenges confronting the entire European Union.

But it’s a revelation during film’s final third, focusing on progressive policies toward women, that most surprised Moore, who says, “It was clear that when women had power, and were equals, things were better.”

Indeed, the United States and Papua New Guinea are the only two countries in the world without maternity leave for new mothers.

Aside from this issue, Moore’s new advocacy documentary, unfortunately, lacks the narrative urgency of his far-more-provocative “Roger & Me” (1989), “Bowling for Columbine” (2002), “Fahrenheit 9/11” (2004), “Sicko (2007),” and “Capitalism: A Love Story” (2009).

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Where to Invade Next” is a speculative, simplistic 6, one of Michael Moore’s more superficial forays.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.