Review: Mitt, a Netflix Documentary

If you have Netflix and 90 minutes, I’d highly recommend you settle in for Mitt, a Netflix original documentary that follows Mitt Romney and his family through 6 years of presidential campaigning.

This isn’t a political documentary so don’t expect lots of policy wonks or behind-the-scene battles over strategy like The War Room. Since the film’s thematic subject isn’t politics, it seems unfair to critique the piece through that lens. Instead, the filmmaker seems to have made Mitt as a counter-point to Romney’s public record, which is forever implanted in the public consciousness. This is the last chapter of “A Man in Full” (if I may steal a line from Tom Wolfe).

Instead of a linear narrative that pulls us through an election, this is a series of vignettes built around very specific, very public events. By using those moments and pulling the curtain back, the film both humanizes the process of campaigning and paints a mosaic of the Family Romney.

For me, the two most interesting elements of the film:

  1. The Romney clan is extremely tight, talking through decisions as a group. While anecdotal evidence is generally a poor qualifier, I couldn’t help but recall my days spent with my best friend and his large Mormon family. The sense of family was famliar.
  2. Mitt is dignified, self-deprecating, and intensely self-aware of his strengths, his privilege, and his weaknesses. For someone who came off as wildly out of touch with people at times during the campaign, Mitt offers up a less packaged human who has a genuine passion for service.

Certainly this film won’t cut through the dislike some have for Romney’s policies. However, I was heartened to see a man with whom I disagreed demonstrate his devotion to government service and his insistence on dignified interactions over flash. While he proved to be a middling politician, this film presents the Romney family and Mitt in a light that shined brightly away from the public stage.

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This newsletter is the outgrowth of The Downtown Writers Jam podcast. What that means is I will collect information about the authors I interview, book happenings around the Web, and other literary events that I find interesting. Without you, I'm just a crazy guy sitting in his office furiously screaming on the page for no reason.
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