This is a critique of” Roger And Me”, a documentary by Michael Moore. This is a film about a city that at one time had a great economy. The working class people lived the American dream. The majority of people in this town worked at the large GM factory. The factory is what gave these people security in their middle working class home life. Life in the city of Flint was good until Roger Smith the CEO of GM decided to close the factory. This destroyed the city. Violent crime became the highest in the nation, businesses went bankrupt, people were evicted from their rented homes. There were no jobs and no opportunity. Life was so bad that Money magazine named Flint the worst place to live in the entire nation. When news of the factory closing first broke, Michael Moore a native of flint decided to search for Roger Smith and bring him to Flint.
Michael Moore is the author and narrator of this touching film. He is seen throughout the film. He interviews many people and tries again and again to find Roger Smith. He is thrown out of private clubs, offices and yacht clubs. His authorial voice is observational. He tells all sides of this sad story. He interviews the people of Flint and GM executives including Roger Smith. He even interviews the few very well to do people in the now struggling city. One executive is used over and over in this film. His opinion is that “GM has to do what GM has to do to stay competitive”, and ” the nature of corporations is to make money”. His views were shocking to me after seeing the struggle that the city was in. How could he say this when streets were filled of boarded up homes and businesses? The city is doing so bad that the rat population actually increased the human. These comments made me sick because he actually believed what he was saying. The well to do or very rich people in Flint had different statements but they were just as disturbing. “Get up and do something”, “They dont want to work”, “We have such a good welfare program these days” and “there being lazy” were just some of the comments. These people just seemed really naive to me. I got the impression, and I am confidant that their families has had money for years and that they were brought up on this type of attitude. The sheriff of the city was interviewed as he evicted people from their homes. He said he was so backed up with evictions that he had to kick people out of their homes on Christmas eve. So many people were leaving this town that people getting evicted couldnt call a moving truck. All of these interviews shows the depth of the entire story, not just one side.Roger Smith was finally asked at the end of the film what he thought of people being out in the street in Flint. He said that it had nothing to do with GM.
The directors choice of authorial voice certainly impacted my feelings about the film. The director showed all sides of the story but anyone who watches this film will side with the city of Flint. One reason for this was showing the archive footage of the city of Flint before the decision of the plant. There was footage of people with smiles walking the streets of Flint and footage of many thriving businesses. The city of this day was a totally different than after the lay off. Now there was a city where people wore a frown and businesses were boarded. This was very effective in portraying the documentary subject because you could see the before and after effect with your own eyes. The directors authorial voice provided me with a compelling point of view.To me Roger Smith was almost evil. How could he let this happen to a whole city when he had the power to stop it. GM as a corporation was in very good shape. They did make more profit from using Mexican workers but is it really worth all this? My view of the people laid off varied. Some were naively optimistic. Others turned to a life of crime. .While, others intelligently moved away. This was shown by the many interviews given to the people of Flint.
The story of the film had an important significance. It is not worth a small profit to destroy peoples lives. This was a small profit to such a big company like GM. This film showed the repercussions when something like this happens. People , hungry and poor turning to crime. In my opinion, the welfare of a whole city is much more important than a small selfish profit especially when GM was not in danger of bankruptcy. Roger was an egotistical and selfish person. When it came down to looking at the city of Flint he turned the other way. I totally understand that GM is a business and I believe in capitalism but we have to take care of people before making money. In this case we have to take care of the welfare of an entire city before making a small profit. I dont understand how a man like Roger can live with himself after making a city that lived the American dream into a giant ghetto. He should have looked at the city of Flint and then took a good look at himself and reconsidered the decision.
In conclusion this documentary showed what happens when large corporations dump American workers for foreign workers. The companies save money but we need to take care of are own people (Americans) before thinking about a profit.