Saturday, January 18, 2014

Sundance Movie Two: Flipping Mormons!

Director Greg Whitely talking about his movie, Mitt.
It can be expensive and a pain in the neck to deal with all things Sundance.  From the staff to the ticketing to the fact that Salt Lake City audiences are mostly an after thought, Sundance is at times maddening.  And yet, there's a reason to put up with the frustration: brilliant, surprising movies. Movies like Mitt from director Greg Whitely.

Let me start by saying that this movies is just another thing that demonstrates how wrong our political system has gone.  It's a stunning revelation about the falsity of presidential campaigns. And it reminds us that the demands of the media, of special interest groups, of big corporations, and of each and every one of us forces politicians to be flat photocopies of themselves.

I'm a liberal guy.  Actually, I'm a really liberal guy.  And during the presidential campaign I pretty much saw Mitt as an out-of-touch enemy.  But watching this movie, I realized that Mitt and his sons are like my younger brother.  He's super conservative.  And he's a really good guy.  Sure we disagree on a lot of things.  Be we also respond to each other with kindness and respect.  After seeing this moving, I'm a little embarrassed about the way I talked about Mitt Romney. Yes he's super conservative. And we disagree on a lot of things. But he's a really good guy; who spends a surprising amount of time picking up trash.  In fact, in the Q&A after the film, the filmmaker commented that he could make a 90 minute movie of Mitt Romney picking up trash and turning off lights.  I like that.

Speaking of the filmmaker, I have to comment on the way he chose to make this movie.  It's all about the family.  That may not be the filmmaker's doing since he admitted that the campaign staff wanted absolutely nothing to do with this film. But by focusing on the family, he brought a humanity to the story that is wonderful.  Watching Mitt greet his grandchildren in such a sincere, friendly way changes your perception of the presidential hopeful.

I'll end with my favorite "Mittism" from the movie: Flipping Mormon.  Mitt mentions it twice in the film. He references it in terms of his problems with the media, suggesting that they see him in only two ways: As a flip flopper and as a Mormon. But I related to the term on so many other levels.  I'm a very different kind of Flipping Mormon.  And I'll absolutely adopt this term when I need to express my frustration with my Mormon friends and family, as in, "you flipping Mormon!" It just seems so Utahan.  Thanks Mitt.

Everyone should seek out this intimate, surprising portrait of a misunderstood family.  If they did, it would make our political system better.

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