Mitt -2014-


Directed by Greg Whiteley. 92 mins.

Worth my time? Yes. (Watched on Netflix)

Mitt is a must-see because is accomplishes the Herculean feat of portraying Mitt Romney as a relatable guy. Yes, the forty-seven-percent-borrow-your-parents’-money-and-start-a-business-my-friends-own-NASCAR-teams two-time presidential loser actually seems like an okay guy. I was taken aback.

The film is all the more fascinating because it’s the most genuine glimpse the general public will get of old Mittens. Neither Mitt – a conservative (at least if he thinks it will get him votes) Republican – nor liberal director Whiteley was incentivized to skew the documentary one way or another. Romney and the film’s production company partnered up in 2006 when he was first planning a bid for the 2008 presidential election. The terms of the film were renegotiated in 2011 when Romney ran again so that none of the footage would be made public until 2014, well after the 2012 election. As a result, Whiteley gets to capture the Romney clan is a relatively natural setting, since the captured footage could have no impact on his electoral prospects.

Mitt isn’t going to sway viewers on policy (I didn’t vote for him and still wouldn’t), nor is that the film’s intention. However, it shows a dramatically different Romney than the one America say in the ’08 and ’12 campaigns. This Mitt is happy to poke fun at himself and is the most-laid back adult in his family. While Romney’s opposition framed him as an out-of-touch plutocrat (not that he did much to prove them wrong), onscreen he is a humble guy who frequently acknowledges the privilege into which he was born. Mitt’s hero is his father George, a self-made businessman and statesman who Mitt readily admits was a far more determined, successful man than he could ever dream of being.

In addition to the personal angle, Mitt gives the viewer a look into the frustration and exhaustion that comes with a major political campaign. Instead of watching the latest bullshit pseudo-scientific Netflix documentary, try Mitt on for size.

(Seen and written on 2014-01-24)