2016: Obama's America Movie Poster Image

2016: Obama's America

(i)

 

Anti-Obama documentary trades objectivity for persuasion.
  • Review Date: September 6, 2012
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 85 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

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

Brief newsreel clips include footage of riots, war, exploding cars, and police brutality.

Sex
Not applicable
Language

Infrequent use of "goddamn."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Brief glimpses of cigarettes and some adult beverages in background of a few scenes.

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.

What's the story?

Working from his book The Roots of Obama's Rage, filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza's main psychological speculation in 2016: OBAMA'S AMERICA is that Barack Obama is and has always been primarily driven by one central figure in his life: the father who abandoned him. (A source for this theory in the film is a psychologist who specializes in studying males without fathers but who doesn't appear to have met the president.) Starting with that premise and adding newsreel footage, on-camera and telephone interviews, photographs, and visuals from his own recent travels to Kenya and other places that the president has lived, D'Souza broadens the hypothesis and then draws dramatic conclusions about the president's motives, beliefs, and future agenda. According to the movie, the 44th president of the United States is a rabid anti-American, collectivist, pro-Muslim, pro-Palestinian radical who has been waiting for his second term to change the face of America for the worse.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the various goals of filmmaking: to inform, to entertain, or to persuade. What is the primary purpose of 2016: Obama's America? How do you know? Why is it important to understand the filmmakers' purpose?

  • What are the differences between fact and speculation or opinion? What tools do we have to help us determine which is which?

  • Do you think documentaries are required to be objective? Why or why not?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 24, 2012
DVD release date:October 16, 2012
Cast:Dinesh D'Souza
Directors:Dinesh D'Souza, John Sullivan
Studio:Rocky Mountain Pictures
Genre:Documentary
Run time:85 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:brief language and smoking images

This review of 2016: Obama's America was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent Written byTechnologist September 16, 2012

pro reviewer should be politically impartial

I just got home from a matinee of 2016. My ten year old son was sitting next to me throughout and I'm glad he was. I am stunned that the professional reviewer of this site, Ms Schonfeld, gave this work one star. The only possible explanation for this is personal politics. It is not surprising that this would be her persuasion after a career in the entertainment industry and retirement to the Seattle area. I have family members who fit the exact profile and are similarly afflicted. What I would like to see from this site is reviewers who can put their politics aside and tell me what objectionable content that I should protect my children from. Here is what you need to know. If you are a Seattle liberal, you will not like this film. However, the film is well executed, well sourced, historically informative, culturally insightful and effective at communicating its thesis. The content concerns are very slight. But you may have some things to explain to your kids afterward. Reverend Wright is on camera saying "G* D* America" once. It also shows up in text on a graphic next to his photo. Obama's father's drinking is mentioned in passing a couple of times. Also, Obama's father's multiple simultaneous marriages are observed. The violence in the film is limited to some riot scenes taken from news clips where the worst I could make out was a burning American flag. My rating of four stars is for quality of execution and educational value for my children. Political, cultural, historic, and current contexts are presented that will help your child better understand where we are in American and where we and the world have been, politically and culturally. I flagged the positive role model icon because the author/director, Dinesh D'Souza is exactly the kind of self made person I would like my children to aspire to become. He has risen by his own industry and merits, eschewing the easy rewards and status of American victim-hood.
What other families should know
Great role models
Parent Written bySunnyboy2 September 10, 2012

2016: Obama's America A should see film this fall.

Unlike many political documentaries, this picture clearly lays out the thesis and supporting evidence. I have read several reviews which attack the film maker as peddling a conspiracy theory. I did not see this at all. I saw film maker who recognized a political attitude, called “anti-imperialist”, from his own upbringing in India. Such political thought is not recognized in the mainstream of American life. The filmmaker hangs a great deal on the title of President, then Mr. Obama’s, auto-biography “Dreams From My Father.” What were the dreams he could have gotten “from” his largely absent father. His father was a person who dreamed for independence from Great Brittan’s imperial reach. Dreams of tearing down the those who have more that lifting those who want. The theory may or may not be correct, but it is supported by facts set forth in the film. There are many unanswered questions about the Presidents past. I am disappointed that more critics fail to review the film with an objective eye, rather than feeling the need to contest the films theory and conclusions only by mocking the facts put forth. Not disputing the facts mind you, but dismissing without examination. A film that is interesting, but dry at times. This film puts forth a theory that answers troubling questions about currant Whitehouse policy. These same questions are not easily answered by any other political theory. Agree or disagree with the conclusion, the film should be watched. A thinking film, not action packed.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent of a 6 year old Written bymadsmooney1214 September 11, 2012

2016 obamas america

Families can talk about the various goals of filmmaking: to inform, to entertain, or to persuade. What is the primary purpose of 2016: Obama's America? How do you know? Why is it important to understand the filmmakers' purpose? What are the differences between fact and speculation or opinion? What tools do we have to help us determine which is which? Do you think documentaries are required to be objective? Why or why not?
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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