A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Promotes understanding of the lives of people other than ourselves. Reflects upon successes and difficulties of global business partnerships (i.e., culture clash, expectations vs realities). Reveals that given technological advances, by the year 2030, 375 million workers will be replaced by automation; comments upon the necessity to prepare for that eventuality.
Positive Role Models
Despite acute differences between societal groups, solid relationships can be created with openness, acceptance, and patience. Brings to light profound disparity of values, lifestyle, and attitudes in American and Chinese workers.
A few curses: "s--t," "hell," "f--k."
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Products & Purchases
Fuyao Auto Glass, Dayton, Ohio is the subject of this documentary.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Wine is served in one scene. A few characters smoke cigarettes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that American Factory is a documentary that recounts the initial efforts of a successful Chinese manufacturer -- Fuyao Auto Glass -- to bring its business to the U.S., hiring and training more than a thousand American workers in the process. Expectations are high in 2015, when Cho Tak Wong (aka "Cao), Fuyao's president, comes to Dayton, Ohio and takes over a deserted General Motors plant to expand and globalize his company. Without commentary, documentary filmmakers Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert let the characters and situations speak for themselves, following the participants from both countries as they negotiate challenging situations. There are a very few curses heard ("s--t," "hell," and "f--k"). English subtitles are used when conversations are heard in Chinese. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Filmmakers Bognar and Reichert clearly feel that a story is best told by the people involved, and that's the emphasis here in this telling account of an effort to make a global business venture work. Their access to those involved is extraordinary, and they make the most of it. At Fuyau Auto Glass in its earliest years there was a profound difference in the work ethic of its two participating cultures. The Chinese folks depicted in American Factory find purpose and worth in their work; it appears to be the cornerstone of their lives. The Americans, however, value family and personal time most. Work is simply work -- to be done efficiently and well in a decent, safe environment. The filmmakers nicely capture the heart of that disparity.
Though there's no obvious editorializing, viewers may still come away with a bias toward the Americans. How representative this is of other similar undertakings is an unknown. Note: this is the first film under the auspices of Higher Ground Productions, the company headed by Barack and Michelle Obama. It's a solid, worthwhile beginning, best for mature teens.
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.