Over the Fourth of July holiday my family and I saw America, a new documentary from Dinesh D'Souza. The film, which sparked a lot of discussion among the members of my family, suggests that there are two basic views of the United States:
1. America the Oppressive Nation
2. America the Exceptional Nation
D'Souza begins the film with interviews of select and high profile people who hold the first view and connects it with some popular historical authors. He then interviews other people who critique the first view and, thus like him, affirm the second. D'Souza served in the Reagan administration and is, of course, a conservative Republican who is greatly critical of both President Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton.
Regardless of political perspectives, the real benefit of this movie is that it gives the viewer the opportunity to think “worldviewishly” and to engage in serious critical thinking about important historical, cultural, and political issues. The categories of race, gender, and class are constantly in the news and this movie allows these topics to be viewed from very different points of view (though clearly D'Souza's film has a strong perspective, if not an agenda). One possible response to the film is to conclude that maybe the truth is found somewhere in the middle.
In my opinion, every high schooler and college-aged student in the United States should see America. It affords a great opportunity to ponder two very different prisms of America. Whatever your political persuasion, the movie is guaranteed to cause some irritation but also to make you think.
And it is always a good idea to ask yourself: “What is the best argument on the other side?” Truth is far too important for us to allow it to go untested!
For more worldview thinking on movies, check out these other reviews and articles.
- “How to Think about Near-Death Experiences” (regarding Heaven Is for Real)
- “Considering Black Fish and the Question of Mammals in Captivity” (a guest post by Krista Bontrager)
- “Son of God: Representing the Bible on Screen”
- “Reflections on a War Movie: Lone Survivor”
- “Is Evolution vs. God a Genuine Science-Faith Apologetics Engagement?”
- “Top Five Abraham Lincoln Movies”
- “Profound Problems with Religious Pluralism” (regarding Life of Pi)
- “Spielberg’s Fresh Portrait of Lincoln”