Michael Moore’s new film Where to Invade Next

I had been wondering when Michael Moore would come up with another of his zany documentaries and whether he was working on one at all. I was glad to see that he was and that he did it in secret to enable him to employ his usual guerilla filmmaking tactics more effectively. It is going to be out soon. In this one, Moore ‘invades’ Europe to see how those countries differ from the US and to seize all their good ideas, rather than invade countries for their oil.

Nina Burleigh has seen an early screening and describes what it is about.

The scene switches to American TV clips of Cato Institute experts and Rush Limbaugh criticizing Europe’s crushingly high taxes. Moore puts up a graph showing that Americans do pay slightly less than the French, then lists what the French get for their money. The list goes on and on, including national health care, maternity leave, great public transportation and child care, which, when available in America, cost individuals or the public far more than the public programs in France. Moore points out that more than 59 percent of Americans’ income taxes go to the military, though.

The movie is classic Moore shtick—lots of laugh-out-loud moments threaded into serious progressive agitprop. He goes from France to Finland (three-hour school days, highest-ranked education system in the world), Slovenia (free college), Germany (ongoing national soul-searching about Nazi genocide, in contrast to what Moore sees as America’s refusal to fully acknowledge slavery), Portugal (decriminalized drugs), Norway (country club prisons built on rehabilitation principles) and finally Iceland, where women are more likely than anywhere else to run the government and corporations.

Americans who spend any time at all in Europe return to America stunned at how comparatively underserved we are for the taxes we pay. Moore’s movie reminds us that long vacations, paid leave and free health care are all considered basic building blocks of middle-class life in Europe, while in the United States, in the current political discourse, a powerful force not only resists discussion of these benefits but has actively rolled them back over the past few decades.

This looks like it supports Bernie Sanders’s ideas though of course Moore must have conceived of it a long time before Sanders announced his candidacy.

Here’s a teaser for the film.

RT America has more on the film.

Here he is interviewed about it in October during the New York Film Festival. (About the 11:00 minute mark he talks for a while about how he makes his films and that he avoids repeat takes so that the spontaneity you see is genuine and not acting.)


  1. invivoMark says

    It looks like a typical Michael Moore film, alright: the heart’s in the right place, but the facts don’t check out.

    59% of Americans’ income taxes go to the military? That’s an outright fabrication. About 50% of the federal government’s budget is spent on social security and healthcare, split roughly down the middle between the two. Military spending accounts for about 17% of the federal government’s budget. You can get close to the 59% figure by only counting discretionary spending, but obviously that’s dishonest.

    And even then, you’re nowhere close to making Moore’s figure correct. 41 states in the US have state income tax, and states spend little to nothing on military expenditures. So the biggest proportion of a person’s income tax that can possibly go to the military is around 17%, but for most people the proportion is much smaller than that.

    We still spend too damn much on the military. And that’s what’s so monumentally frustrating about Moore’s documentaries. I agree with the conclusion, but the path his films follow to get there is a yellow brick road that is nowhere near Kansas.

  2. doublereed says

    Yea, it’s hard for me to get excited about a Michael Moore movie considering just how flagrantly dishonest he’s been. And Farenheit 9/11 had a bunch of weird trutherism in it. He’s entirely untrustworthy, and that’s a significant problem because he’s dealing with very serious issues.

  3. Mano Singham says


    What exactly has he been flagrantly dishonest about? While his earlier films had problems, some fairly serious, this is not so for his later ones because as he became more famous and influential, he realized that the right wing will go after his films with a fine tooth comb to pick things that are wrong and use them to discredit his entire message. So now Moore has a team of researchers to fact-check his films. In his film Sicko, for example, the health industry, aided by the media that is embarrassed that he exposes things that they should be exposing, tried hard to find fault with it but could not come up with any that stood up. But that did not prevent them from claiming that he is dishonest. I did posts on their failed efforts here and here. There has been a concerted right-wing effort to discredit him.

    Moore is an unabashed propagandist. He paints a portrait that favors his point of view. But that does not make him dishonest.

  4. invivoMark says

    Yeah, but then you’re still ignoring social security and health care spending. The fact, as stated, is still blatantly wrong. There’s no way around that, and I don’t think I’m just arguing semantics.

  5. MG says

    If all one can focus on after watching this film is a chart on how much money the US throws at a problem rather than better ways to fix the problem, more effective (cost and results-wise) and healthier, that says a lot about what’s wrong with the way many if not most Americans think. Our school system is failing. I have lived in communities that care about the school and when that happens it makes a huge difference. So many of our systems are corrupted by politicians paid-off by special interest and lobbying groups (sounds like voting for these issues is a conflict of interest to me). We have made a business of our criminal justice system and after people pay their debt to society there is no support system to help in transition to productive society leading to our shameful recidivism rate. I could go on and on, but my point is that even if there are some statistics that may seem inaccurate (I graduated in economics and I know that statistics are squishy) a broader look where we could improve is warranted and wothwhile.

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