2016: Obama’s America
Bottom Line: 2016: Obama’s America is incredibly informative, but not recommended for Obama’s fans.
Directed by: Dinesh D’Souza, John Sullivan
Other Credits: Barack Obama
Contrary to films produced for pure entertainment, documentaries are only intended to attract a certain audience. We wouldn’t expect an obsessed biology aficionado to eagerly attend the private screening for a documentary drawn directly from the Holy Bible, for example. Add in politics and we have something else, where critical reception is nothing more than feedback inevitably biased from one’s political party. By definition, the field of writing is an entirely liberal study; such is the reason for unending praise for Michael Moore, who, to a conservative, is likely to appear not as informative, but as dogmatic, redundant, and obnoxious. I respect the negative reception held by 2016: Obama’s America. A Tomatometer score of 31% isn’t entirely unexpected, as the film’s pivotal theme is being “anti-Obama”. That is not at all to say that an American who doesn’t appreciate Obama, either, will equally detest this. From a more Republican standpoint, the film isn’t a fascist, blasphemous insult to our current POTUS, but rather a well-intended (and well-made) warning of what may happen to America within four years or less, under President Barack Obama’s possible second term.
Obama’s America is the directorial collaboration of Dinesh D’Souza and John Sullivan, two extremely conservative minds. D’Souza, however, leaks more impact into the film, narrating it and basing it on his own 2010 book The Roots of Obama’s Rage. He also shares quite a few connections with President Barack Obama (just scratching the surface, both are descendants of foreign backgrounds and both were born the same year), which emphasize his views on a personal level. The documentary begins with the beliefs anti-Obama Americans have been accustomed to for quite some time, i.e. the fact that Barack made dozens of promises prior to his election and has yet to fulfill a single one of them. Once we have that drilled into our psyches once more, D’Souza moves on to examining several more crises, for which we could say President Obama is responsible either for creating or building upon. Without spoiling anything further: it goes without saying that by the end, we wonder how much we actually knew Obama upon entering the theater, and we fear for what America will look like in 2016, if he is reelected.
We look at the themes dealt with in Obama’s America and it’s quite surprising how cautiously they are assessed. It’s clear from the film’s very exposition that Dinesh D’Souza is every ounce anti-Obama. Yet not once can D’Souza be heard delivering hateful comments squarely at the President. Morgan Spurlock raises his voice much more loudly and frequently in Super Size Me. The film is a heavily premeditated study, well supporting every fact, regardless of the political standpoint. But again, it isn’t for everyone. I guarantee that although this hour-and-a-half-long docudrama will strike an Obama fan as offensive and insulting, it will strike anyone of the opposite demographic as a highly thought-provoking analysis.