Metascore
67

Generally favorable reviews - based on 43 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 43
  2. Negative: 1 out of 43
  1. This movie, the subject of controversy, is a defiantly personal statement on what the war really is--laced with that now-familiar "Roger and Me" mix of homespun wit, pop culture playfulness, populist heart twisting and "gotcha" guerilla film-making tactics.
  2. Moore makes no pretense of being "fair and balanced." He makes a passionate case for his own perspective, and invites us to agree with him or not. "I fulminate, you decide" could be his motto.
  3. Assessing the merits of a political film is a tricky business. Obviously, its quality is partly a function of its power to persuade, but its persuasiveness is in the eye of the beholder.
  4. Reviewed by: Karen Karbo
    91
    A savagely partisan indictment of George W. Bush's presidency.
  5. 88
    Moore has marshaled what's on the record and off into a stinging indictment of where we're going. In a multiplex filled with Hollywood cotton candy, we need him more than ever.
  6. 88
    A compelling, persuasive film, at odds with the White House effort to present Bush as a strong leader.
  7. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    88
    The documentary's scathing attack on the war in Iraq and George W. Bush's presidency is informative, provocative, frightening, compelling, funny, manipulative and, most of all, entertaining.
  8. Scalding and glib, derisive yet impassioned, Fahrenheit 9/11 is an intensely resonant piece of Bush-bashing, because it lets the president do most of the work.
  9. 80
    So maybe the entire right wing should just shut the f--- up, and accept that Michael Moore is going to have his say now.
  10. Reviewed by: Damon Wise
    80
    Arguably not the most proficiently crafted film in Cannes this year and certainly not the most balanced, but Moore’s assault on the Bush administration is a terrific polemic.
  11. This would be 10 times the movie if it featured an actual debate between Moore and Bush. Nonetheless, the man makes a remarkably strong case, tastefully inserting himself into the Bush-baiting only when necessary--one such stroke of brilliance involves personally urging congressmen to send their own kids to Iraq.
  12. Michael Moore in Fahrenheit 9/11 has launched an unapologetic attack, both savage and savvy, on an administration he feels has betrayed the best of America and done extensive damage in the world.
  13. 78
    So great are the charges raised against the Bush administration in the film, and so combustible the current state of geopolitics, that Moore’s film could actually prove to be the first in history to help unseat a sitting American president.
  14. 75
    Unapologetically slanted -- and often hilarious.
  15. The information here isn't necessarily new, but it is packaged in an acid-tongued way along with powerhouse visuals that drive home the filmmaker's nakedly political views.
  16. As a character assassin, Moore fails, because you can't kill anyone with contempt and sarcasm. And as an independent counsel prosecuting Bush for bamboozling America, Moore likewise misses his mark because many of the exhibits he offers as evidence are emotional rather than factual.
  17. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    75
    One last thought: Fahrenheit 9/11 is many things, but for pity's sake let's not call it a documentary.
  18. Reviewed by: Pete Vonder Haar
    70
    Where earlier Moore films showcased a fair amount humor, even when covering weighty topics, Fahrenheit – especially the latter half – gives us Moore at his most serious.
  19. 70
    Fahrenheit 9/11 is more like a drug experience than a political documentary. It's a mind-bending, half-digested mass of video clips, interviews, statistics, rampant speculation and the cheap gags Moore has never been able to resist.
  20. More often than not, Moore goes for the guffaw, and as enjoyable as that can be, it falls short of producing the kind of devastating, in-depth analysis that might really challenge the hearts and minds of ALL audiences, left and right. At the very least, this approach undercuts the effectiveness of Moore’s own case.
  21. 70
    As much as the jurors at this year's Cannes Film Festival insisted that the Palme D'Or was awarded to the best film in competition, it was a sign of the times that they chose to honor Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, marking a clear and decisive victory for ideology over aesthetics.
  22. 70
    If Moore is formidable, it's not because he is a great filmmaker (far from it), but because he infuses his sense of ridicule with the fury of moral indignation. Fahrenheit 9/11 is strongest when that wrath is vented on Bush and his cohorts.
  23. While Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 will be properly debated on the basis of its factual claims and cinematic techniques, it should first of all be appreciated as a high-spirited and unruly exercise in democratic self-expression.
  24. Reviewed by: Mary Corliss
    70
    A brisk and entertaining indictment of the Bush Administration’s middle East policies before and after September 11, 2001.
  25. A potential cultural juggernaut.
  26. 70
    In Fahrenheit 9/11, Moore largely stays out of the picture, and the film is the better for it. But otherwise his style hasn't changed.
  27. 70
    Fahrenheit 9/11 offers the thrill of a coherent explanation for everything, but parts of the movie are no better than a wild, lunging grab at a supposed master plan. [28 June 2004, p. 108]
  28. There are plenty of laughs whenever Moore wants to twist the knife, but the bottom line is that he respects and trusts his fellow Americans a lot more than Bush does.
  29. The sum of all this is moderately rousing and deliciously irreverent in the Moore style, but not earthshaking as journalism, and devoid of anything that the average person doesn't already know from reading the newspaper.
  30. 63
    Basically a two-hour argument for regime change that isn't half as incendiary or persuasive as its maker would have you believe.
  31. 63
    The real problem with Fahrenheit 9/11 isn't that it attacks the current Republican administration, but that it does so clumsily and with poor focus.
  32. Aesthetically, this isn't a great documentary, although, during the first half, there are great moments in it. But the latter part is scattered and frenzied, rather like an excited dog tearing off after too many rabbits at once -- a thematic hunt that's all chase and scant context.
  33. 60
    Moore's desperate need for attention is irritating, but it's also his strength as a gadfly; it drives him to needle sacred cows and received wisdom that would otherwise go unchallenged.
  34. 60
    Even as you're laughing, you get the uncomfortable sense you're being recruited, and not always honestly, to Moore's us-and-them point of view.
  35. Reviewed by: David Gates
    60
    That's the real problem with Fahrenheit 9/11: not the message, but the method… Moore’s default mode is overkill: he even notes that on the night before the attacks Bush slept on "fine French linen." Surely scratchy muslin wouldn't have stopped the evildoers.
  36. At its best, Fahrenheit 9/11 is an impressionist burlesque of contemporary American politics that culminates in a somber lament for lives lost in Iraq. But the good stuff -- and there's some extremely good stuff -- keeps getting tainted by Mr. Moore's poison-camera penchant for drawing dark inferences from dubious evidence.
  37. 50
    The problem is not merely that Moore preaches to the choir. It's that, at his worst, he's so bumptious and bullheaded that he helps keep that choir small and strident. In Fahrenheit 9/11, Moore is so anti-Bush that he becomes a Bizarro-world version of Bush himself: tone-deaf, spluttering, incapable of framing an intelligent debate.
  38. The surprising thing about Michael Moore's polemic is not one-sidedness, which was a given: It's his failure to find devastating new weapons of mass destruction to aim at Bush's head. The smoking guns he holds up often fire blanks, and the ones that don't are mostly derringers.
  39. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    50
    It delighted me; it disgusted me. I celebrate it; I lament it. I'm sure of only one thing: that I don't trust anyone--pro or con--who doesn't feel a twinge of doubt about his or her responses.
  40. Fahrenheit 9/11 is sometimes slipshod in its making and juvenile in its travesty, and of course it has no interest in overall fairness to Bush. But it vents an anger about this presidency that, as the film's ardent reception shows, seethes in very many of us.
  41. Moore stays "on message" here from first shot to last. There is no debate, no analysis of facts or search for historical context. Moore simply wants to blame one man and his family for the situation in Iraq the United States now finds itself in…So the real question is not how good a film is Fahrenheit 9/11 -- it is undoubtedly Moore's weakest -- but will a film help to get a president fired?
  42. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    40
    Pic fails to provide any hard facts or make any incriminating connections that a reasonably informed person doesn't already know about, so intellectually Moore is largely preaching to the converted in this blatant cinematic 2004 campaign pamphlet.
  43. 30
    Moore's supporters are quick to impugn the liberal credentials of anyone who criticizes his presentation of the information he digs up (or, in some cases, makes up). For them, Michael Moore is the issues he talks about, so his detractors must be enemies of democratic principles. It's an old trick, akin to the way Pauline Kael was accused of being insensitive about the Holocaust when she didn't like "Shoah."
User Score
6.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 493 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. StacieL.
    Apr 13, 2007
    10
    I don't care if people think that Michael Moore has twisted facts and edited the footage to make George Bush look bad. Personally I I don't care if people think that Michael Moore has twisted facts and edited the footage to make George Bush look bad. Personally I think George did this himself. All that Michael did was give us facts, have his say on it and let us decide whether or not Bush was right about his actions. This film has made me open my eyes to the cruelness and the lies that's in the world. Full Review »
  2. JoeS.
    Sep 24, 2007
    5
    Anyone who voted this movie a "0" is completely wrong. I'm not saying that I believe everything this movie tells me, but I'm not Anyone who voted this movie a "0" is completely wrong. I'm not saying that I believe everything this movie tells me, but I'm not saying I don't believe it either. The point is not to take sides my fellow Americans. To completely put all your trust and faith into Bush or Moore is wrong. It is not un-American at all to distrust and disagree with our president. Again, I don't necessarily believe or take to heart what Moore has presented, but I respect the fact that he's going out on a limb to question someone of high authority. Moore isn't an "America hater", if anything he is more American by questioning and thinking freely. So don't take sides, because you don't have to. Think for yourself, and remember that questioning your government will never be a bad thing. Full Review »
  3. NickA.
    Oct 10, 2006
    9
    Never could one film have so polarized opinions on both sides of the political spectrum within the USA as this. Although some of Mr. Moore