The documentary's minimalist approach assumes a good deal of previous knowledge on the part of its audience. Whiteley provides no narrative overdub or present-day interviews to offer reflection or much context on the documented events. Less than 18 months removed from the election, this shouldn’t prove much of an obstacle for the audience, and the timing of “Mitt” is bound to enhance its impact and interpretation. Because Romney’s opponent is an embattled sitting president, it would be easy to see the documentary as a 90-minute “I told you so” from the Romney campaign. And for many middle-of-the-road voters, that could be the result.
But “Mitt” is not a campaign piece. Whiteley does a good job of letting the story tell itself, showing both the highs and lows but refusing to dwell too long on one issue or another, allowing the audience to draw its own conclusions.
Since we only see the perspective of one candidate, it’s easy to wonder what is going on behind closed doors with other hopefuls. As a result, “Mitt” may generate more sympathy for Romney’s character without necessarily prompting audience members to change their political positions.
Regardless of how you feel about Mitt Romney or the outcome of the last presidential election, “Mitt” will make you wish we could get to know all our candidates in such a manner.
“Mitt” is not rated but, as it has no offensive content, will no doubt land in G- or PG-rated territory.
Joshua Terry is a freelance writer and photojournalist who appears weekly on "The KJZZ Movie Show" and also teaches English composition for Salt Lake Community College. You can see more of his work at woundedmosquito.com.
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