Mitt Romney’s many faces are what news and media organizations from across the Internet are commenting on in their reviews of “Mitt,” the documentary on the former presidential candidate.
The all-access film, which is being shown at Sundance and will soon be available for streaming on Netflix on Jan. 24, humanizes and adds layers to Romney’s character, according to Film School Rejects. “Mitt” shows Romney in a different light than what people see in public, wrote Kate Erbland for Film School Rejects.
“Romney, who often appears in public seeming a bit stiff and practiced, instead scans in the film as a basically pretty regular (albeit extremely wealthy and privileged) guy, a doofy dad who loves his family and is compelled to make them proud," Erbland wrote.
And how Romney and his family act in the film reaffirms the family’s stance on family values, Erbland said.
“Romney has long stood on a platform that hinges on the value and importance of family, and while his dedication to his family has never really been in question, 'Mitt' casts the Romneys as a warm, funny, relatable clan,” wrote Erbland.
Romney also appeared confident in many ways. The Washington Post’s review of the film said that of the many sides shown of Romney and his family, his confidence busted out towards the end of his campaign when he had written a victory speech before writing a concession speech.
“He was ready to concede the presidency but not the argument — confident in his convictions about what the country needed,” The Washington Post reported.
The New Republic’s review said “Mitt” was a great look at the Romney family. On top of showing several grandchildren, the film reaffirmed the Romneys’ place as a strong family. “And the film’s main revelation is that the family’s Hallmark public image seems to be pretty close to accurate,” wrote Laura Bennett for The New Republic.
“‘Mitt’ does not exactly save Romney from his reputation as a robot,” wrote Bennett. “But his formality begins to look less like an artifice and more like a kind of dorky tic that binds the Romneys, like a well-intentioned, alien tribe, against the larger world.”
But Byron York of The Washington Examiner said “Mitt” shows a politician with a lack of confidence. York said the film shows Romney, at the presidential campaign against Obama in 2012, losing belief in his ability to win. Even when Romney did come out on top in some debates, York wrote, he didn’t appear confident in the slightest.
“A candidate who did not believe he could beat the president in debate, who always felt second-best to his father, who believed the country was moving away from him, and who didn't even feel at home in his own party,” wrote York. “The Romney campaign faced many uphill battles in the 2012 campaign. ‘Mitt’ shows us that some of the most intense were in the candidate's mind.”
And The Daily Beast said the film had a lot of flaws in it. Despite all the access to the Romney family, the film pulls a punch and doesn’t reveal some surprising details.
“We never really see Romney criticizing anyone — even Candy Crowley — nor do we see his reaction to many game-changing incidents during his campaign (e.g. the “47 percent” video),” wrote Marlow Stern for The Daily Beast. “He doesn’t even utter the name ‘Sarah Palin’ in the film. We also don’t see Romney discuss any hot button issues, from gay marriage and abortion to the repeal of Obamacare and Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform, nor do we see him address his numerous contradictions.”
Some of those issues were highlighted in the Talking Points Memo’s five more surprising elements of the film. Writer Sahil Kapur said the film didn’t acknowledge some of the bigger questions or Romney’s reactions to some of the larger controversies that arose in his campaign.
But at the end of it, Kapur wrote, the film did humanize Romney.
“Whatever people thought of the man before, they might come away liking him at least a bit more after watching ‘Mitt,’ ” Kapur wrote. “The film portrays him as a selfless, loving father and husband who's down-to-earth, self-effacing and even funny!”