TV Review - Mitt

The film premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. Immediately after, it was made available to stream on Netflix. It's one of several, original documentaries that Netflix has acquired and is exclusively distributing. This one from Greg Whiteley is in many ways a love letter to Mitt Romney, the former Governor of Massachusetts and the Republican Presidential nominee in 2012.

It's not a biography or a history lesson of how the 65-year-old, Presidential nominee came to be or what his life has been. It starts in 2006 and ends in 2012, only capturing Romney and his family, mostly in hotel rooms, in planes or back rooms, moments prior to him making appearances on the campaign trail to make speeches or perform in debates. It captures candid moments, but as one of Romney's sons points out, they're all so media-trained that they're almost robotically programmed when a camera is within eye-sight to give the pre-written talking points.

In several ways, it's reminiscent of Conan O'Brien Can't Stop (2011). Instead of portraying Romney as a jerk as Conan O'Brien was, Romney is portrayed as a nice person who is smart, loving and prayerful. He and his family all seem very self-aware, funny and normal.

Despite his wealth, there are honest moments where you see Romney cleaning up or doing ironing. He seems very personable. He interacts with people at an Arby's restaurant and comes across as a genuine advocate for small business who is grateful and respectful of his father who was a self-made, business man.

What's probably most telling is the way in which Romney handles his concession and withdrawal from the Secret Service on election night 2012. What also helps Romney come across as a warm and likeable guy are the family moments when he's hugging his sons or being playful and joking with them.

Whiteley does include the video of Romney's "47 percent" comment, but Romney's true beliefs and politics are kept at a distance in this movie. Whiteley spends a lot of time showing Romney's prep time before debates or even the aftermath of debates. Yet, he makes sure to avoid actual debates in the movie. Even the opening, which has Romney sitting down with his family and asking them to weigh the pros and cons of what his running for President would bring, isn't much of a debate, but it along with a lot of moments does manage to be prescient.

Three Stars out of Five.
Rated TV-PG.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 32 mins.


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