I think this is a delightful documentary that brings together all of the elements of the best and worst of small town communities, in this case, Levittown, U.S.A. Like many of Errol Morris' documentaries, this film focuses on the eccentricities of `normal' people to the point where that very phrase `normal' becomes meaningless. There's no such thing as normal! I suppose different people will view some of the people in this film negatively, but that is where the viewers are coming from, not the filmmakers. It's all a matter of personal perception. It takes all kinds to make a world, and I personally felt this film celebrated that, whether I agreed with the points of views of the people who were featured, or related to any of their `eccentricities'. To me, some people's lives seemed a bit bland, but then I remembered that prior to the war, many of them lived in big cities with sub-standard housing and they had none of the creature comforts that we all take for granted today. Still, I've always wondered why the communities that display the highest percentage of American flags are segregated communities. Is that really the American dream for so many people? Someone in this documentary mentioned that there were Asians in Levittown but I didn't see any in this film. Nor was there any mention of the fact that there were/are no African-Americans, Hispanics, Gay people or God forbid (!) Arab-Americans in Levittown, although it's obvious to anyone with eyes. What any segregated (intentional or otherwise) community produces is a community that is pretty limited. But that is America, like it or not. Most people don't know or even want to know what lies beyond the confines of their community. America is one big country filled with various small town mentalities. I don't think that's entirely a bad thing. Small towns are often great. I live in a big city where people rarely live in one place more than two or three years and almost never get to know their neighbours, much less ever become close friends with them. People in small towns are generally kinder to their neighbours since they know that they'll be seeing a lot of them over the years. And the feeling of a community is a wonderful thing. But this documentary does show in parts how living in a generic society with one common but very limited experience of the world can be quite suffocating, mentally and emotionally. Multiply that by thousands of communities across the country and one can see where it can even be a dangerous thing. The best thing about this film is that it shows that it is our eccentricities, hobbies and even occasional delusions that keep us healthy. It illustrates how this country is strong not because of how generic or patriotic it is, but because of the warmth and imagination of its people. What's wrong with someone who collects kitschy illustrated plates, or fancies that their house is haunted? I can judge for myself that it's not anything I can relate to, but who am I to judge others? It's documentaries like this that can really make us see ourselves much better in how we look at and judge others. To me, an ideal community (and what this wonderful melting pot of a country we live in is all about) would be Levittown with people of all races and walks of life living together peacefully. Add a few nice restaurants, a great museum, a few terrific cinemas, DVD stores, and bookstores, and that would be paradise to me. In the meantime, I can appreciate the rich experience this film gave me in broadening my view of America.
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?