In advance of the movie’s San Francisco opening this Friday, the SF Examiner has paved new critical ground by being the first outlet to compare our little movie with James Cameron’s AVATAR:
For an engrossing visit to another world — one that doesn’t involve 3-D glasses and whose name is Wichita — “What’s the Matter With Kansas?” is the film to see this week.
Based on Thomas Frank’s best-seller, this documentary, with impressive evenhandedness, examines how a state once known for progressive populism became heavily Republican and conservative.
It sharply demonstrates how Republican candidates have exploited religious fervor surrounding issues such as abortion to get poor and middle-class voters to support a party whose overall actions run counter to their economic well-being.
Directed by Joe Winston and unfolding without narration, the film shows a Kansas landscape decidedly under-the-rainbow, with boarded-up storefronts, for-sale homes and ailing farms.
Politically, the tone is fundamentalist and Republican. Voters view Republicans as the Christian party and thus the good guys. They demonstrate more interest in the party’s stance on religiously charged issues such as abortion and gay marriage than in how Republican policies affect their farms.
Democrats are seen as “pro-abortion,” “pro-homosexual” and “evil.” …
Winston’s three-dimensional treatment of people whose ideas may seem insane to those with Bay Area sensibilities is a plus; the humanity hooks us…
You can read the entire review here.