Rhetorical Analysis of Roger and Me

In the 1980s General Motors started a big controversy by shutting down some of their plants and opening new ones in Mexico for cheaper labor. This caused the once popular and growing town of Flint to become nothing more than a deserted and run-down place. Michael Moore’s film Roger & Me is a very biased film concerning the citizens of Flint, Michigan that lost their jobs due to General Motors shutting plants down in the town. Moore set out to try to get an interview with Roger Smith, the CEO of General Motors, and show him the devastations that the plants closing down had on Flint.

The way Moore documents and uses pathos throughout the movie grabs the attention of the viewer immediately, but in the end this hurt his credibility and made me not respect the film as much. One way Moore would grab the attention of the viewer was by the way he flipped from scene to scene. Moore incorporated this technique in his film to help prove his one sided story. He would show an interview of a poor worker, or show a clip of the abandoned town, but in the very next scene he would interview a man or woman of power.

An example of this that was used repeatedly throughout the movie was when Moore introduced the viewers to Deputy Brad, who worked for the Sheriffs Department. He evicted dozens of families from their homes every day and Moore would show this in just about every other scene. This was just another way for Moore to flip from the poor citizens of Flint who were getting evicted from their homes, to the men and women of power. Moore seemed to do this throughout the whole movie. This gave the movie a sad, touching effect that made one feel sorry for the workers that lost their job.

This was once again proving only one side of the story. Another way Moore’s use of pathos lead to a one-sided movie was the music he placed in the different scenes. He used songs throughout the movie such as “Luck, Lucky Me” by Connie Francis, “I am Proud to be and American” by Pat Boone, “Joy to the World” by Anita Bryant, and “Wouldn’t it be Nice” by the Beach Boys. Just by the titles of the songs one can tell that he is giving a sarcastic touch to the film. An example of this was in one of the scenes Moore showed the town of Flint after it had its abandoned look to it and played the song “Wouldn’t it be Nice.

” This gave the sarcastic appeal to the movie that showed “wouldn’t it be nice” if Roger Smith had not closed the plants down and put families out on the streets. All of the songs gave the movie a sarcastic appeal that lead the viewer to only believe one side of the story. Moore also presented a one sided story by the questions he asked during interviews. In the movie Moore would interview a citizen of Flint and make the interview very sympathizing, but in the very next scene he would interview a man or woman of power in the General Motors Company and make them look like complete idiots.

An example of this is one of the first scenes in the movie Moore was asking different citizens of Flint what they thought about Roger Smith and the plants closing. They all responded angrily and it made the viewer already have a vengeance towards Roger. In the very next scene he interviewed Tom Kay, a spokesman for Roger Smith. Moore took what Tom said in the interview and turned it around to make you dislike Roger Smith even more. It was almost as if he edited his interviews to only prove his point. This was done throughout the whole movie so it was hard not to believe that Roger Smith was the worst man in the world.

Michael Moore’s use of pathos throughout this movie was very successful. The flipping of scenes and the music he placed behind some of the scenes made you feel sorry for the people that lost their jobs. The questions he asked during interviews gave the viewer a sympathetic feel towards the citizens of Flint and a feeling of vengeance towards Roger Smith. This was all done very well but it also displayed only one side of the story so I feel like this lowered Michael Moore’s credibility. He had to go to great lengths to get the viewer to believe his side of the story. This affected the way I saw the movie and made me believe it less and less.

This was also Moore’s first movie so that lowered his credibility as well. The film was centered on Flint, Michigan. This was not the only town in the United States going through what Flint was going through. It may have been harder on Flint, but Moore should have shown more examples of towns in the same situation as Flint. Throughout the whole movie I felt as if his only objective was to make Roger Smith and General Motors become the bad guys. If Moore had tried to balance the two point of views in the movie instead of leaning towards one side the film would have gained a lot more credibility.

He could have then let the viewers pick which side they believed most instead of making them believe what he wanted them to believe. Michael Moore created a great film about the affect of General Motors closing plants down in Flint, Michigan. His use of pathos was very successful and kept the viewers’ attention throughout the movie. He only presented one side of the story though and had to go to lengthy ways to make the viewer believe his side. This lowered Moore’s credibility and made me debate that Roger Smith was even in the wrong at all.