The Softer Side Of Plastic

Jan 17 2014 @ 12:03pm

Laura Bennett reviews the new film on Romney:

[A]s a campaign documentary, Mitt has none of the logistical intricacy of The War Room (about Clinton’s 1992 race) or Street Fight (Cory Booker’s 2002 mayoral bid in Newark). In fact, the actual mechanics of campaigning are notably absent. Though Whiteley is present at many politically crucial moments—before and after both presidential debates, through some of the fallout from the 47 percent gaffe, during the election night moment where Romney drafts his concession speech—he never seems more than mildly distressed about the actual prospect of losing. It’s a family drama much more than a campaign drama, and Whiteley’s willingness to embrace that fact is the source of the film’s unexpected warmth. In one scene, they sit together at the kitchen table laughing loudly, and somewhat uncannily, at a David Sedaris monologue on “This American Life.”

Mitt does not exactly save Romney from his reputation as a robot. But his formality begins to look less like an artifice and more like a kind of dorky tic that binds the Romneys, like a well-intentioned, alien tribe, against the larger world.

Marlow Stern is more critical:

For all the access granted to Whiteley and his filmmaking team, Mitt doesn’t contain too many illuminating scenes. We never really see Romney criticizing anyone—even Candy Crowley—nor do we see his reaction to many game-changing incidents during his campaign (e.g. the “47 percent” video). He doesn’t even utter the name “Sarah Palin” in the film. We also don’t see Romney discuss any hot button issues, from gay marriage and abortion to the repeal of Obamacare and Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform, nor do we see him address his numerous contradictions.