Here's a leftover from Sundance that's also playing on Netflix Instant - Michael Cusumano on "Mitt".
In one scene from Greg Whiteley’s documentary about the two failed presidential runs of the former governor of Massachusetts, Romney complains bitterly about Candy Crowley's interference in the second debate, which led to the infamous “Please proceed, Governor” moment. According to Mitt it was not the moderator’s place to comment or press the candidate for answers.
If that’s what annoys Mitt, then he will have no issues with Mitt, which takes a hands off approach to the Romney campaign and comes at it from a home movie angle with lots of interviews with Anne Romney and various Romney sons lamenting how tough it is to see their loveable old Mitt take this abuse from the media, and how much the country would adore him if they could look past politics and get to know the “real” Mitt Romney. As if those who opposed him did so not because of policy but because they didn’t realize how great he is with his grandkids...
The defining moments of the campaign are glimpsed, the 47% video, the $10,000 bet, but the film never catches the nominee or his advisors reacting to them or digging into how they happened in the first place. Romney is exasperated that he can’t shake the label of “the flipping Mormon” and there is a fair point to be made about how the media finds a narrative and sticks to it, but at no point does anyone press the candidate to explain his various contortions over the years as he went from trying to get to the left of Ted Kennedy in his senate run, to trying to get to the right of Rick Santorum in his presidential run.
Instead we get a lot of “Candidates: They Are Just Like Us” moments. Mitt goes sledding with his grandkids, Mitt gets nervous before the big debate and starts cleaning up all the garbage in his hotel room, Mitt cracks up listening to David Sedaris on NPR. That would be an ideal time to ask, “Hey Governor, does your love of David Sedaris give you any pause about being so gung ho about denying him and his partner full equality under the law or is that position merely a craven political calculation you don’t actually believe?” but alas, nobody seizes the moment.
If Mitt is going to be short on political revelations, Mitt could still succeed by being a movie about personalities, like Pennebaker’s great The War Room, but unfortunately for the filmmakers, Mitt is as exactly as dull up close as he appear to be from back in the cheap seats. For die-hard political junkie like myself there is innate fascination with watching any behind-the-scenes moments from a presidential campaign I followed with a laser focus for over a year, but that’s about as far as the appeal of Mitt goes. The tagline for Mitt urges us to see things from a different side, but we leave the film feeling that we had Mitt pretty well pegged from the start.
Distribution: Currently available on Netflix Instant Watch