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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
For those who don't support President Obama, the movie's position on his personal life/background, politics, and agenda may be seen as positive; for those who do support him, the same content will likely be viewed quite negatively. Both groups can look at the movie as an example of how conflicting premises can be supported by interpreting pieces of information in different ways.
Positive Role Models
The movie doesn't depict President Obama as a role model, but its position may be interpreted in different ways depending on viewers' political leanings.
Violence & Scariness
Brief newsreel clips include footage of riots, war, exploding cars, and police brutality.
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Infrequent use of "goddamn."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Brief glimpses of cigarettes and some adult beverages in background of a few scenes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the stated purpose of 2016: Obama's America is to help defeat President Obama's re-election efforts. It's a documentary, but -- like many other movies in the same genre in all shades of the political spectrum -- it has a clear political position and creates or finds audio and visual material to back up that premise. In this case, the filmmakers' conclusion is that Obama still struggles for identity in the face of having been abandoned by his father. To that end, the film posits that the president has been planning to use his second term to purposefully destroy the country. Your own political leanings will determine whether you find the movie persuasive or not, but other than a few brief newsreel clips showing war, rioting, and police brutality; some background smoking and social drinking; and a couple of exclamations such as "goddamn," there's nothing scary or provocative in the movie. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The filmmaking itself is sometimes clumsy and amateurish (i.e., specific visuals having no relationship to the accompanying audio, heavy-handed music, etc.). And while there's enough authenticity in the film (repeated footage of Reverend Jeremiah Wright's angry sermons, audio clips of Obama narrating his book Dreams from My Father, references to some of Obama's left-wing teachers, colleagues, and friends) to add a modicum of factuality amidst the conjecture and far-fetched rhetoric, it's doubtful that anyone but those who already entertain suspicions about or vehemently oppose the president would take this polemic seriously.
D'Souza released 2016 during the fall of 2012 in order to take advantage of -- and have an impact on -- the Obama-Romney presidential race. It's a slick maneuver, certain to reap box office dollars and add some controversy to an election season that has no shortage of media coverage already. Like famously liberal filmmaker Michael Moore -- albeit with a radically different agenda -- D'Souza is at the center of his film: prodding, reacting, interpreting, restating, and ominously proclaiming.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.