Review: American Factory (2019)

Directors: Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert
Genre: Documentary
MPAA Rating: NR
Release Date: 8/21/19 (Limited; Disc/Streaming)
Where to Watch: Netflix
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

The first film released by Michelle and Barack Obama’s new production, American Factory, is well worth watching. I knew next to nothing about this story, which centers on a car glass-making factory that opens up in Ohio, a few years after the GM was shut down — putting many people out of work. A Chinese billionaire opens up this new factory, where Chinese and American workers of all backgrounds work side by side.

What is so miraculous about this documentary is that it doesn’t take sides; the filmmakers spend as much time with the Chinese workers (and with the billionaire) as with the Americans. As a result, you felt empathy towards both sides, which is difficult to do in any movie, let alone in a documentary.

One of the most fascinating parts of the film is when a few American workers travel to China to see how their Chinese counterparts work, and you can see the amazement in the Americans’ eyes while seeing the efficiency and hard work that the Chinese put in.


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