‘Mitt,’ Netflix’s new Romney film

Netflix’s new documentary ‘Mitt’ offers an inside look and behind the scenes struggles of the Ozzie and Harriet of American politics and their quest for the White House. The film maker, Greg Whiteley, chose to document Mitt and his family interactions and in so doing paints a picture of a man who most americans never got to meet. But how could they with people like Bob Beckel who called him a “Ken Doll with no thoughts” and a “rich boy that inherited it.”  Maybe  Mr. Beckel, didn’t know that according to PoliticFact Mitt Romney gave his “inheritance” to BYU to endow the George W. Romney Institute of Public Management.  

In the film Romney scribbled the word Dad on his notes for the debate reminding him of what his father accomplished and next to it a sun reminding him to let his light shine.  In a conversation with his son he said that his father went from nothing to become the president of a major auto manufacturer and later himself a candidate for the Presidency.  He seemed to have the inferiority complex and innate feeling of superiority that Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfield spoke of in their New York Times opinion piece when he confessed his lesser accomplishment by not moving as far given his privilege of both an MBA and Law degree from Harvard as a starting point.  A “Ken doll with no thoughts?”  Come on Mr. Beckle, where has the american dream gone?  This is an exceptional man who made it, plain and simple. What is so wrong with that, in opposition to our current culture of “entitlement and instant gratification,” to quote Chua and Rubenfield.  

Is it really impossible to believe that the “Nelson” family could really exist?  That there really is no dirt behind the perfect facade.  He admits to being a flawed candidate and Ann even messes his hair in one scene.  Here is a man who struggled to reveal himself to the american people against the caricature defined by the media.  In the film he calls himself the “flipping Mormon,” which is the closest thing to swearing you will hear in this film. He quips that the Mormon thing is something he can’t change and watching we learn it is part of who he and his family are and perhaps part of the reason for their success.  

Whiteley portrays the whole family as down to earth despite their wealth. Ann is cast as an exceptional woman who is highly respected and deeply adored  by him and their family. Her “clean-cut” sons defy their “creepy”  stereotype .

 The reality versus the media spin allow us a glimpse of what he meant when he said “Dan Quayle was never going to convince people he was smart,”  any more than he was going to overcome the image of a “flipper,” or a “rich boy” with no understanding of the travails of the 99% .  The movie shows a side of  Mitt that is lost in media portrayals.  

Behind the scenes we see a kind man of strong commitment and character.  In his review of the movie, John Dickerson writes, “You can tell it’s not a campaign movie because in the 90 minutes of behind-the-scenes private moments, none of the main characters utters a single swear word.” In watching, one comes to the conclusion that the film maker may not have struggled to find these scenes because this appears to be the kind of people the Romney’s are.

Watching the film I was amused by Governor Romney cleaning up the papers on the floor or the trash from the hotel balcony perhaps demonstrating a man sensitive to the work of others.  In a scene from a family sledding event, someone asks Mitt why he is wearing a pair of gloves mended with Duck Tape rather than the new ones he just received.  This frugality seems a bit odd compared to the media image of a man with multiple luxurious homes and a wife with “twin” Cadillacs.  Are these moments indicative of a heartless vulture capitalist with no regard for the misfortunate that he was portrayed as by the media, or an oddly “frugal” and down to earth “regular guy?”  

He is, as his son put it one who needed to run, not only as a duty to his country, but also,  as a duty to his god, a reason for one going into politics that seems to be a forgotten trait of our countries founders.

Following are different looks into the movie Mitt

Meet the Romneys

Mitt isn’t a campaign documentary as much as a home movie.

Mitt, the documentary about Willard Mitt Romney’s two presidential campaigns, is not so much a campaign movie as it is a home movie. You can tell it’s not a campaign movie because in the 90 minutes of behind-the-scenes private moments, none of the main characters utters a single swear word. If it were a political documentary, you’d have to send the kids to the other room. Instead, you should save a space on the couch for them to watch this story of a loving father and his family weathering the abuse of the modern political campaign with faith, good humor, and love.

Another worthy audience for this film would be anyone thinking about running for office. This movie offers a glimpse of what it’s like to endure the process, which has the appeal of a terminal illness and many of the similarities. Stress is a constant. Your sons, daughters, and spouse feel the abuse heaped on you more than you do. There’s a lot of time spent in waiting rooms, and if you’re the one with flagging health—in this case the candidate—you have to stomach everyone around you constantly trying to make you feel better. At the end, if you lose, it’s like attending your own funeral, as Romney explains, where you have to walk the long line of people breaking down in front of you as they mourn your loss. If you are a prospective candidate, this film might help you test whether you have that elusive “fire in the belly” that candidates are supposed to have before they put in the order for the hats and the bunting.

via Mitt, the campaign documentary: Netflix’s new Romney film is really a home movie..


‘Mitt’ director: Romney was ‘uncomfortable’ watching the doc –

The filmmaker who documented Mitt Romney over two presidential campaigns said he didn’t bother to explore the White House candidate’s most famous misstep because it didn’t offer anything new. … Whiteley provides the public a rare look at the two-time presidential candidate in the documentary, “Mitt.” The Romney family gave the filmmaker extraordinary access to private moments and campaign strategy sessions that previously hadn’t been seen by even reporters who shadowed the White House hopeful.

via ‘Mitt’ director: Romney was ‘uncomfortable’ watching the doc –

‘Mitt’ documentary shows Romney’s many sides – The Washington Post

“Mitt,” the new documentary about Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, will not fundamentally change people’s perceptions of the 2012 Republican nominee. Lengthy campaigns reveal character and personality and harden voters’ impressions of all the candidates. Romney’s image is well-fixed.
But the behind-the-scenes documentary, which got its first public showing Friday night in Salt Lake City as part of the Sundance Film Festival and will be available on Netflix beginning Friday, is nonetheless quite revealing. The movie fills out a portrait of Romney as a politician of self-doubt, self-awareness and, yes, self-confidence.

via ‘Mitt’ documentary shows Romney’s many sides – The Washington Post.

(Romney caricature  via DonkeyHotey )

John D. Johnson

John D. Johnson

Co-Founder at PoliticIt
Dr. Johnson is a Professor of Information Systems at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University. He has a Ph.D. in Economics from Texas A&M University. John is co-founder of FNC Inc. and PoliticIt.
John D. Johnson


Dr. Johnson is co-founder of @FNC_inc, @Politicit, @redbirdmetrics and professor at USU. I tweet about social media, #bigdata, and politics.
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John D. Johnson
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