Back at Sundance, I remember reading that the documentary, Mitt, would be premiering there. I was hoping that I would have some time to see the film, but I was there for only a few days. I also heard that Governor Romney had made an appearance at the festival, which didn’t shock me due to his Mormon ties in Utah. But luckily Netflix, the streaming site to end all streaming sites, had picked up the rights to stream the film a few weeks before the Festival begun, and the film was available for the world to watch on January 24th. I didn’t have much time beforehand to watch the film, but I wasn’t doing much this Saturday, so I cued up my Blu-Ray player to the Netflix app and watched the film. Let’s discuss the film.
Mitt follows the two unsuccessful presidential campaigns of Mitt Romney, the former Governor of Massachusetts. The film begins with his unsuccessful bid at the Republican nomination in 2008, with his family members, wife Ann, and even the Governor himself, that they would vow to not run again. We then cut to four years later, and Mitt Romney is the Republican nominee for President of The United States. The film mainly consists of intimate, behind the scenes moments between Governor Romney and his staff, but mainly scenes with the Governor and his family.
The film was directed by Greg Whiteley, who last directed a documentary named Resolved, which was about racial inequality in American education. But he worked on the brilliant documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, which is a film that I highly recommend if you ever get the time of day to watch it. Seth Gordon, the director of King of Kong, executive produced Mitt. The big draw into this film is that Mr. Whiteley was given lots of access into the Romney campaign for years, and that it shows a side that many people wouldn’t expect from Governor Romney, and it’s that of a human being. During the brutal 2012 campaign, several pundits accused him of flip-flopping on several issues, to one former campaign strategist going as far to claim that Governor Romney had an “etch a sketch” philosophy to his campaign. Much of that is brought up during the film, as it shows how people’s perception of the Governor is quite skewering, and how frustrating it can be.
So yes, you don’t see Governor Romney as a horrible, self-centered pro-corporate candidate that many believed he was during the election, but what you see is a man who puts his family and his faith above everything else, according to the film. It’s a documentary that doesn’t necessarily bring anything new to the medium, but it’s a very well done film that captures one man’s bid for the White House, and how both defeated attempts effected both him and his family. Granted, your personal politics may block your thoughts on the film itself, but that never really seemed to happen to me. I can’t say Governor Romney was my first choice for President of the United States, but I have nothing but the utmost respect for the man, and quite honestly my respect for the man grew as I watched the documentary. I did have a few complaints about the film, and these are probably the same complaints that others will have when they see the film. The film does skim past some key aspects during the campaign, like the etch a sketch controversy in early 2012 to the leaked fundraiser video with Governor Romney talking about the 47 percent.
But other than those minor complaints, Mitt is well worth your time and I recommend that you check it out. If you have a Netflix account, you can just stream the film right on your T.V. or your computer, and it’s only a 90 minute film. I can’t say it’s the best documentary you’ll watch on Netflix, which by the way four out of the five nominated documentary films for the Oscar are currently streaming on Netflix, but if you want to see a documentary that takes a lot of the cynicism that usually goes into political documentaries out and instead puts in a focus on a man and his family running for the White House, that I suggest you watch the film.