Has there ever been a time when so many American factories that once came to prominence in the United States suddenly disappear from existence? Oscar-winning Netflix documentary film “American Factory” provides deep insight on why a General Motors factory closed its doors, and how the Chinese company Fuyao grew in its place to inspire hope toward American job growth but potential scorn among its employees. For a reader that is looking at this review: spoiler alert.
Throughout the documentary, there is great significance in its plot and conflict, as the story includes various points of view from American and Chinese employees. In the plot, there was a sense of distrust between the two groups. Although there were no actors and the actual story was not scripted to benefit a selective audience, there was indeed tension within the film. At one point, there was a moment when it seemed there might have been significant conflict that left the viewer to ponder if a fight would break out. In addition, the film successfully delves into the barriers between the two groups. There was one scene in which American workers went over to China to experience Chinese culture and understand how they do their work, whereas another scene showed the Chinese worker’s point of view of being in America. Other than its plot, the film’s run time did not disappoint, and since it was a Netflix film, it was fun to watch at home.
In regards to its negatives, there were a few. To start, the film had no action. Since it was a documentary film, there is a sense that the film was only documenting on the specific details about companies. Another issue the film suffered from was that it had no clear antagonist. The only antagonist that the film presented was the actual company that took over General Motors, leaving the viewer confused as to if the film was taking a side. Despite this, the film did a good job in delivering on what was going on in the factory.
Overall, “American Factory” delivered in captivating the viewer in questioning the intentions of companies and the actual story that it plays out. As it is a documentary film, I place it as four and a half out of five stars for its riveting narrative, diverse viewpoints on both sides, and people on screen not being actors. If this documentary does not appeal to you, there is also the Ken Burns collection on varied topics about America. To anybody that has thoughts or comments about this review, feel free to email at my WCU email with your deep insight about the film. Until next issue, this is Nicholas Bartelmo signing off.
Nicholas Bartelmo is a fourth-year student majoring in history. NB790429@wcupa.edu