On its surface, Where to Invade Next seems to be a cheerful travelogue as Moore enjoys an extended vacation, “invading” a passel of European countries plus Tunisia to steal their best ideas and bring them back home to America. For instance, French public schools have chefs who serve students hour-long, multi-course lunches on china, featuring dishes like scallops in curry sauce. I haven’t laughed harder at any movie this year than when the French 8-year-olds stare in perplexed horror at photos of American school lunches.
By the end of Where to Invade Next — after seeing working-class Italians with two months paid vacation, Finnish schools with no homework and the world’s best test scores, Slovenians going to college for free, and women seizing unprecedented power in Tunisia and Iceland — you may realize that the entire movie is about how other countries have dismantled the prisons in which Americans live: prison-like schools and workplaces, debtor’s prisons in order to pay for college, prisons of social roles for women, and the mental prison of refusing to face our own history.
You’ll also perceive clearly why we’ve built these prisons. It’s because the core ideology of the United States isn’t capitalism, or American exceptionalism, but something even deeper: People are bad. People are so bad that they have to be constantly controlled and threatened with punishment, and if they get a moment of freedom they’ll go crazy and ruin everything.
Here’s the trailer.
Here’s a clip from his visit to Italy.