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Roger & Me

Roger & Me is an American documentary film movie directed and reported by independent filmmaker/journalist Michael Moore. With black humor, Moore illustrates the negative economic impact of General Motors CEO Roger Smith's summary action of closing several auto plants in Flint, Michigan, costing 40,000 people their jobs and economically devastating the city.

Moore begins by documenting his futile attempts to arrange an interview with Smith to confront him about the closing of the Flint plant. Moore, thrust off by the CEO, changes course and turns his camera on the Flint city government, who are in the process of response by promoting a vigorously incompetent tourism policy, soon proved to be an embarrassing failure. Moore also exposes what he believes to be the naive social attitudes of the rich population and big business' callousness and greed; he's equally harsh towards the union leadership and the governments that helped create the situation in the town. As these events are depicted, Moore also talks to the townfolk - the "honest, hardworking folks" who are at a loss to think of a way to continue to make a living. A good part of the town, nearly 25 percent, has already vacated, to find work elsewhere.

This film, financed partly by Michael Moore's mortgaging of his home and partly by bingo fundraisers, was meant to be a personal statement over his anger not just at GM, but also the economic policies and social attitudes of the United States government which allows a corporation to remove the largest source of a town's income from that town. The film proved to be the most successful documentary in American history in its theatrical run and enjoyed wide critical acclaim. In response, General Motors threatened to pull advertising on any TV show which interviewed Michael Moore.

Michael Moore went on to become a leading left wing social critic and activist, film maker, TV producer and author based on the success of this film.


Film critic Pauline Kael criticized the film for exaggerating the social impact of GM's closing of the plant and depicting the actual events of Flint's troubles out of chronological order. One such criticism is that the eviction at the end of the film occurred on a different day from Smith's speech, but the two events were intercut for emotional effect. On the other hand, the film directly says so, both during the eviction scene and during Smith's speech and the subsequent attempted interview with him.

GM argues that the reason for its downsizing was fierce competition from Japanese auto manufacturers and that the only alternative to the factory closures in Flint would have been major government handouts or the abolishment of free trade. Moore briefly touches upon these issues, noting that GM and the factories were profitable when they were moved. He also brings attention to the opulent lifestyles of the rich, including Smith.

Roger and Me was followed up with a short called Pets or Meat, a PBS documentary that returned to Flint, Michigan after a year to see what changes had taken place.

See also: Bowling for Columbine - List of movies - List of actors - List of directors - List of documentaries - List of Hollywood movie studios

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