Director James D. Stern has provided a disturbing but enlightening film that is a wake-up call to be aware of what so many Donald Trump supporters think. The Trump victory shocked Hillary Clinton voters who thought her election was in the bag, but ignored the undercurrent of dissatisfaction running through the United States. Stern, a Democrat, toured parts of America with his camera before the election and objectively interviewed an assortment of people along the way.
Stern looked surprised at the depth of dissatisfaction that he found, and at the passion evident at the Republican national convention at which Trump was nominated. It is important for Trump’s opponents to take note of those who see him as a savior.
For example, there are coal miners who are frustrated by the decline of the mining industry and think Trump can bring back coal and jobs. During Stern’s tour of various states we meet some folks who are downright ill-informed and ignorant. But there are others who are simply hurting and desperate for solutions. Stern also found blatant bias toward Clinton.
It will be a huge challenge to win over such people, and for some, it would appear that nothing will change their minds. However, from what Stern shows us via the interviews that he did is that an effort must be made to connect and not simply ignore people as “deplorables.”
Those of us who see this record of what so many people are thinking may be depressed if not surprised by what Stern uncovered. Yet the aptly titled film is extremely valuable by pulling no punches. It is a frank and excellent primer about the present divisions in our country. A Sony Pictures Classics release. Reviewed September 14, 2018.