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Moynihan
A documentary by Joseph Dorman & Toby Perl Freilich

104 minutes, color, 2018

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Synopsis

Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1927-2003) did not just live in the twentieth century, he strode across it: a colossus of ideas and a man of deeds. He was an influential intellectual and sociologist, policy specialist, ambassador and long-serving senator. In an age of rigid ideologies, he was a man who embraced the contradictions and complexity of public policy without ever despairing of the role of government in the lives of its citizens. The first feature length documentary about his life captures Moynihan as never before.


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Reviews

"CRITIC'S PICK! An unusually detailed and thoughtful look at a man who despised poverty and whose belief that 'if you have contempt for government, you will get contemptible government' sounds especially valid today. Commentators as various as former Vice President Joseph Biden and writers George Will and Ta-Nehisi Coates take the measure of this exceptional and unconventional public citizen." - Kenneth Turan, LOS ANGELES TIMES

"Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the Anti-Trump of American Politics: In an Orwellian era when the president's personal lawyer says that 'truth isn't truth' and when lies are excused as 'alternative facts,' a newly released documentary film provides a potent reminder of one public official who wasn't afraid to speak his mind without perverting reality." - Sam Roberts, THE NEW YORK TIMES (editorial on October 11, 2018)

"Entertaining. Makes the case for him as a towering figure whose passion, wit and wonkiness now seem like precious qualities in governance." - Ben Kenigsberg, THE NEW YORK TIMES

"Intelligently crafted and enlightening. Joyously brings to life one of the most colorful, brainy characters in 20th-century American politics." - Lisa Jo Sagolla, FILM JOURNAL

"That we need a politician like Daniel Patrick Moynihan more than ever is made clear by his most famous quote: 'Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.' In this political era in which expertise and thoughtfulness are considered negative traits, Moynihan's life and career deserve significant attention and reappraisal. Joseph Dorman and Toby Perl Freilich's documentary 'Moynihan' admirably fulfills that goal: a vivid portrait of a brilliant and multi-faceted man of ideas who charmed his enemies as well as his friends. The recent Kavanaugh hearing debacle makes you wish that the film was on a permanent loop in the halls of Congress." - Frank Scheck, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

"A documentary that takes the full, fascinating measure of the charismatic maverick that Moynihan was. It shows us how his extraordinary qualities were rooted in the place America was in the 1960s and '70s: a less advanced society, but also a more open and inquiring one, in which the social contract - the spirit of fellow feeling - was taken for granted. Moynihan always stood for breaking down party lines and reaching across the aisle...He saw government as an arena of possibility and problem-solving, and so he had no patience for those who were caught up in the pettiness of party politics. 'Moynihan' gives that impulse the thoughtful salute it deserves, and leaves you yearning for a way to bring it back." - Owen Gleiberman, VARIETY

"A sterling portrait of a singular American statesman. The crisp, engaging documentary 'Moynihan' paints a picture of the dapper, erudite Democrat as a series of dichotomies that merged to create one of the staunchest defenders of the poor that America has ever seen." - Kevin Crust, LOS ANGELES TIMES

"A terrific new documentary that charts the arc of Moynihan's fascinating and important life. All in all, a thoroughly entertaining portrait of a singularly consequential American." - Andrew Walworth, REAL CLEAR POLITICS

"The beauty and importance of the new documentary 'Moynihan' lies in its ability to show both young and old generations who this singular man was and what he was able to accomplish via his intelligence and perseverance, as well as his understanding and appreciation of the human condition in so many of its seemingly contradictory forms. Even more (much more, in fact) than this year's earlier and popular doc on Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 'RBG,' 'Moynihan' is chock full of the kind of intelligence, fact and detail that will keep you glued to the screen and savoring every word. The film is dense but accessible, challenging but entertaining. The world would be lucky to see his like again. Meanwhile, we have this terrific documentary as both a wonderful lesson and lasting memory." - James van Maanen, TRUST MOVIES


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