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Any Way You Slice It

February 9, 2014

Netflix produced the non-network political drama House Of Cards. Now it’s making news with its first documentary.

Greg Whiteley’s Mitt could have been made for the RNC.

Whiteley, embedded with the Romney family through two runs for the presidency, has made the perfect film for the age of Citizens United. His portrait of Mitt Romney could easily be subtitled the corporate man and his family are people too. Of course they are, what else could they possibly be? In turn, it’s corporate people who are responsible for what their corporations do; responsibility is a bottom line thing.

Mitt himself comes off as a fairly nice guy whether it be in strategy meetings with his staff, or as a loving husband, father, or grandfather: self-reflective and courteous to boot. Why he even irons his own clothes, albeit while wearing them. Plus there are glimpses of Mitt’s lighter, humorous side. [Go on.] And there lies the conundrum. How differently did dad deport himself while working at Bain as opposed to home? This is an area that I always feel in my gut contains a disconnect; how to reconcile the corporate raider with the  pillar of the community.

What seems lacking to me here is any real probing by the filmmaker. What is Mitt actually responsible for doing during his Bain Capital years? Why didn’t he follow the long-standing precedent set by past presidential candidates and release his tax returns thus answering any questions the electorate might have had about his finances. And of course, what about that 47% speech. These are just a few choice picks from a long list of unanswered questions never addressed in Mitt.

What comes across for me is a portrait of a patriarch and his family still smarting from losing the presidency, their cri de coeur, “it was our time” and “we was robbed.”

Choices were made.

Perhaps these topics can all be explored fair and balanced in the sequel, Willard.


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