Film Review : 2016 Obama's America
● By Justin Buettner
2016 : Obama’s America seeks to answer who Obama really is. The movie mainly focuses on Obama’s past and through some interviews, but mainly replaying Obama reading his own book, Dreams From My Father, the movie pieces together how Obama’s views were formed. The last segment of the film examines the decisions the Obama administration has made and attempt to guess what 2016 may look like in America if Obama is re-elected this November.
The title of this movie is very misleading, the bulk of the movie has nothing to do with 2016. In fact the only part of the movie that is worth watching deals with Obama’s past, a subject that really has remained a mystery and strangely under reported. 2016 : Obama’s America is based on a book by Dinesh D’Souza called the Roots of Obama’s Rage. Based on the title of the book and the title of the movie one would guess it is a political hit piece on Obama, but in reality I felt three quarters of the film was actually fairly even handed. In fact a great deal of the movie is comprised of Obama reading his own book, recounting his own memories, and sharing his own viewpoints. Depending on your own beliefs these viewpoints will make you applaud or cringe with dismay. But to know the background of the man leading the country is actually coming four year too late. This is the type of research and reporting that should have happened before the 2008 election.
Dinesh D’Souza’s detailing of his own path to America and his own upbringing really made an interesting connection. I think his observation that because he is an immigrant to this country his viewpoint of America is much different than someone born here is a fantastic point. In fact, his upbringing and life path is somewhat similar to Obama’s. 2016 : Obama’s America is not being told from a person who has nothing in common with Obama, this is a man that can relate to Obama’s path. To drive home his point even more, D’Souza also explains how India was under British rule and how that affected his childhood, his relatives, and their viewpoint of America too. In short he has intimate knowledge of colonialism which he believes is the driving foundation of how Obama bases his decisions and explains many of the more peculiar policies the administration has made since 2008.
The tone of the movie, for the most part, was very even handed. D’Souza did a good job of presenting the history of Obama and not taking political potshots as he told the story. The movie could be acknowledged as a great biography of sorts if the final fifteen minutes were excluded from the movie. The filmmakers filled the film up with recreated shots that were relevant to the audio that was being read was really well done and a difficult task considering the lack of photographs or video of Obama’s youth. It was clear that the material about Obama’s past and how to present this story was well thought out.
The final fifteen minutes is when the movie fell apart a bit for me. All the careful research and insightful information went out the window as the movie quickly breezed past the last four years of the Obama administration and quickly made scary predictions. I think this section of the movie comes across far too heavy handed and it fails to adequately back up their claims in the film (although I know from my own research that many of the claims are in fact true). It would have been more convincing if the filmmakers had spent more time supplying sources and facts if they felt compelled to include their bold predictions at the end of the movie. In my opinion they did not need to include their predictions though, the movie would have been better if they just presented who Obama was and let us draw our own conclusions.
To write 2016 : Obama’s America off as an anti-Obama movie would be a shame. I think the film presents a lot of worthwhile issues for people to think about. The right way to approach this movie would be to do a bit of research of your own on the movie’s content and not out rightly agree or disagree with it based on your preconceived political beliefs. An open mind is rare, especially if you follow politics, but if you try to listen to an opposing viewpoint you just might learn something once in a while. At worst it will affirm your beliefs, but a great deal of this movie is good even if the ending bombs. 2016 : Obama’s America is something that people who plan on voting should see.
Films like 2016 : Obama’s America : I Want Your Money, Inside Job, and Expelled : No Intelligence Allowed
Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.