It is no secret that America is going through one of its roughest – if not the roughest – times in its history. No matter how good it may be, a documentary that seems to stoke the flames of division does not seem worth the time. Stars and Strife is a documentary that addresses many of the problems facing the country. The difference is it also offers solutions.
Stars and Strife opens with a powerful montage showing arguments between members of both political parties. It is a troubling start. One, because the leaders of our country are shown squabbling like children. Two, it also becomes a question of whether the film has a direction. As funny as the opening can be, an hour and a half of it would wear thing quickly.
Thankfully, audiences find out very quickly Director David Smick does have a point. He wants to come up with solutions to help the country. Believe it or not, Stars and Strife is a positive documentary. Obviously, fixing any country with as many problems as America has is no small feat. At times, Stars and Strife makes things sound too easy. No one ever downplays the issues. There is just a lot of, “if we could all work together, everything would be better.” Of course. there is a lot of truth to this, but it is a little more difficult than some of the people interviewed seem to think.
What should frustrate the audience never does. It all works because of who is in the documentary. Stars and Strife is filled with great interviewees. Big names like James Baker and Alan Greenspan back their ideas with years of political expertise. Even when what they are saying seems simplistic, there is the added legitimacy of large scale success doing exactly what they suggest.
The biggest takeaway is how encouraging the documentary is. It never shies away from the problems facing the country but it also does not make them the focal point. It is refreshing to see someone talk about what is wrong without having to tear anyone down. Stars and Strife is not about picking a side. It genuinely wants to make America a better place.