Friday, August 24, 2012

Movie Review — 2016: Obama’s America

2016: Obama’s America
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This movie is misnamed. Only a short portion of Dinesh D’Souza’s new documentary is devoted to what America will look like in 2016 if Obama is re-elected. The bulk of it is spent in the years 1961 through 1983, Barack Obama’s formative years, from his birth to his graduation from Columbia.

They were formative years for Mr. D’Souza as well, and rather than starting with Mr. Obama’s story, Mr. D’Souza starts with his own parallel one. Born in Mumbai a few months before Obama was born in Honolulu, Mr. D’Souza came to the US on a high school exchange program, over the objection of at least one relative who felt there was no place in America for those who weren’t white. Mr. D’Souza remained in the US after graduation, earning a degree from Dartmouth and a place in the Reagan White House. Along the way, he came to love the United States with an intensity that only an immigrant who has known poverty and socialism elsewhere can share. This brief autobiography allows a movie that was potentially very negative to start on a positive note.

The movie goes on to ask a question. Since becoming president, Barack Obama has done things which may seem bizarre: intervening on behalf of Mideast revolutions in countries friendly to the United States while doing little to help revolutions in hostile countries, reversing US policy in the Falkland Islands, giving only lukewarm support to Israel, returning a bust of Winston Churchill to the British. How do we understand these policies? What is the common thread?

To answer this, Mr. D’Souza sets off on the trails of the young Obama and his father, from Indonesia, to Hawaii, to Kenya. This part of the movie comes across as an honest attempt to understand a complicated man. The cinematography is gorgeous. Whether the scene is the Honolulu skyline or a Nairobi slum, bright colors burst from the screen. I learned about the fights that occurred between Obama’s mother Ann Dunham and his stepfather Lolo Soetoro – she was upset that Soetoro was becoming too successful in the capitalist system – and about the internal crisis that Obama faced on being told by his half-sister Auma that their father was an abusive drunk – not the hero Obama imagined him to be. This section of the movie draws heavily on Obama’s own autobiography, Dreams from My Father, so it is well-documented.

I liked the next part of the movie less. It covers Obama’s relationships with the familiar rogue’s gallery of Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, and Frank Marshall Davis. While Obama’s association with these radical anti-capitalists is well-known, the movie has little to say about their actual influence on him, and what it does say is pure speculation.

In its last minutes, the movie returns to the central question of how to understand Obama. Then it finally makes its predictions for 2016. These are all quite chilling; the one that stuck in my mind was a warning from former Comptroller General David Walker about the acceleration of government borrowing under George W. Bush and Barack Obama. We are on the path of Greece.

I did learn one other thing. If you go to the movies at 11:00 in morning, in order to get a review posted before the end of the day, the tickets are really, really cheap. It’s been a long time since I got into a theater for $6.

2016 is in theaters now. To find one near you, go to

Michael Isenberg is the author of the novel Full Asylum, which presents his own vision of what America will look like in the future if we re-elect Barack Obama. Check it out on


  1. One of my friends saw the movie and sent me the following comment:

    The thing I got from the movie is that you don't really have to go any further than Barack's own memoirs and a few biographical facts to derive his anti-colonial, anti-capitalist philosophy. The MSM can quibble about his membership in the "New" Party or what he did at Columbia all they want: it's all there in his own words and life.

  2. the movie fifty shades
    Soon The movie fifty shades of grey going to release.....
    Awesome book