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Parents' Guide to

American Factory

By Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Engaging doc about Chinese firm opening U.S. plant; cursing.

Movie NR 2019 115 minutes
American Factory Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 1 parent review

age 14+

Eye-opening and poignant

A measured look at a complex issue. I was curious how the film would end since I could not imagine it ending in any other way than in an impasse. The film takes its time to bring you to the present, to allow one to ruminate in the job loss of well-paying factory jobs in the US replaced by lower paying jobs that require much more physical risk and that are more psychologically stressful. The documentary seems to take a middle of the road approach, but there were a few statistics that were mind boggling, in particular the one million dollar anti-union consultant group. That is deep investment in not wanting workers to seek organized representation. Companies are deathly scared of unions, check. Eye-opening and poignant.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

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.

Movie Details

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