Better Left Unsaid Reflection
Better Left Unsaid is a documentary commentating on the extremism of the political wings. This is, by default today, polarizing in substance and understanding. The obvious happening of folks apparently becoming extreme in their belief and the consequences of either extreme being universally adopted. Curt Jaimungal moves through the history of both and their consistent ends. The film uses the logic with a purpose to help the viewer understand where the extreme comes from as precisely as possible. It highlights the flaws and asks questions that most people not on either extreme, somewhere in the middle or leaning either way, ask.
This film requires an objective review so hopefully this reads as just that. With that in mind the goal here is to remove personal opinion out of the equation and focus on the film;
Its flow through points
Ability to make its point
Support and evidence for the points
How it effectively leads the viewer to act or react
The lead presenter
How does it stand in a crowded documentary genre
Hopefully, “I” am not heard for the purpose of understanding my personal beliefs here. Instead your decision to watch and/or contribute to this film should be informed so you can make your own choice.
Enjoy this, and the trailer.
The film is edited to quickly move through the points that are being made. For the general viewer it can be really hard to follow. Once a person has processed the point they are thinking about, they find themselves in the middle of another point down the line. Either a few points later, leading to a feeling of needing to rewind or frustration in not being able to fully process it. This can lead folks to turning it off before leaning in to fully understand the wonder Better Left Unsaid (BLU) presents.
If the editing can be removed and the focus on the content, this film is a wonderful journey through the history of both the extreme right and the extreme left. The viewer ought to give their time to this film to have a deep and internalizing understanding of the problem of extremism. To the one that wishes to feel informed of where these views come from so they can understand themselves better, whether to avoid extremes or be more empathetic, know that when you watch you ought to keep your fingers on the pause and rewind buttons. BLU is absolutely worth your time. Absolutely.
The Flow Through Points
If it were to be put into a sentence, the flow between its main points - what the extreme left and right believes, how it is logically presented, where it is flawed, and where it ends - feels rushed. The subject is wonderful, especially through the independent view of the current political climate. One after another clip and statement is made back-to-back-to-back, bam-bam-bam. There are many minutes dedicated to driving a point home for the viewer but even that considerable time dedicated to say, gender politics and belief, it moves through it really quick to get to the next point of race for example.
Further, when a counterpoint is made, there isn’t a notice that you will see or hear the counterpoint sometimes. Inside 15 seconds for example, two students make the point that communism is liberating and immediately countered by a professor stating that it is disastrous. Breaks in between or a simple, “to counter…” would be great in these bits, which happen enough to wonder if they are the same point. This is where the viewer will be compelled to pause and rewind.
Let me qualify this point by saying clearly, the extreme wings of either belief can be really hard to follow anyway. The film is not at fault for rushing through already hard to follow points because the context is very deep and winding already. Curt tries to precisely define either extreme’s core belief for example, and when that happens it is apparent that it is difficult to really nail it down to a few words. Because it is so rough to make it really simple to understand, the film uses 90 minutes to explain it. Because it is so difficult to nail it down to a simple understanding, there is a lot to get through. So that happens fast.
On the flip side, it is so important to define it with as much information as one can so the viewer, generally interested or deeply concerned, can achieve understanding. One may find themselves wishing there was a second or two between statements, while another finds themselves wishing there was more. The latter is definitely representative of those viewers that will very much appreciate the flow.
If you find yourself in the former - wishing there was a little time to process the point(s) - do know you’re not alone, and prepare yourself to pause and rewind a few times. It is worth extending your block of time out 10 or so minutes.
With that being said, here is the breakdown of points.
Chapter 1: 2010’s - The extreme left and social justice Subpoints - Its beginning and foundation Time in journey - 15 minutes
Chapter 2: 2017 through today - The politics of being political Subpoints - The extreme left doctrine and philosophy, white vs social justice Time in journey - 33 minutes
Chapter 3: The 1900’s - How Both Extremes have consistently ended Subpoints - What, How, and Why it happened Time in journey - 30 minutes
Chapter 4: Perennial Patterns Subpoints - The narrative and contribution to extremism, Conclusion Time in journey - 15 minutes
Support and Evidence of Points
There is so much support by respected experts. The points are supported by less opinion and more observation. When discussing the consistent ends for example, the evidence is in the past. The point here is to learn from it and to not lose yourself in the narrative and instead remember how it has always turned out for our forefathers.
Some of the respected experts the film present are these fellows:
Steven Pinker: PhD in Psychology, Author, Canadia-American
Noam Chomskey - Linguist, Philosopher and Activist
Janice Fiamengo - Former Professor of English in Ottawa
Michael Shermer - Science Writer and Skeptic
Coleman Hughes - Writer
They also use a lot of what the extremists they’ve highlighted to help explain the position, and question what could be pointed out as a fallacy. The logic is hard to get around, and the experts BLU uses are very good at explaining them.
When it comes to breaking down the logic to achieve understanding, it can be difficult to wrap one’s brain around, and that’s ok. The logic is difficult in nature. The use of language to push the narrative for either side needs to be a certain way for the outside world to the position. When you find yourself having a difficult time understanding, and you may very well find yourself there a few more times than you expect, it is ok. Focus instead on discovering the consistent ends to the beliefs found in chapter 3 of the film.
Ultimately, the history shows the most evidence to the false narrative of either side of the wings. While watching, remember that there isn’t a way for you to hate, but to understand. Do not lose perspective, or do your best anyway, to take the posture of a learner. This film supports itself very well.
How You Will Be Led to React
You’re going to be upset at the narratives. It doesn’t matter where you stand in your beliefs, you’re going to be upset. This evocation of emotion is to be expected, and should be celebrated. Works like these ought to inspire an emotion, and that emotion ought to inspire the viewer to act how they see fit. You are the viewer, and you should go into this documentary knowing you will feel something. Is that not why we watch things?
If you’re reading this wondering what the content shows, then you are going to have to watch it. You may be a believer in what are described as extreme views and think they are actually logical and ought to be followed. You might believe utopia can be achieved and everyone else just needs to understand. Perhaps your goal here is to understand either side of the spectrum and learn about the progression of a society headed toward - celebrating and encouraging even - some of the ideas that are being shouted from the rooftops. All of this and so much more will be achieved while watching Better Left Unsaid.
You’re going to see things that hurt, others that will provoke thought, much that will get you verbally expressing yourself in your living room. This documentary led to a very necessary conversation between members of this household and it was so wonderful. You will be inspired, how is entirely up to you.
The Lead Presenter
Curt Jaimungal uses his intelligence very well. It is expressed as he follows the logic of the topic with larger words than I could grasp, but it was very fun learning what these words say. Curt is a sharp young man with an exceptional education himself. Here is what he did best; he didn’t make it about him.
The topic is the highlight. The logical road he leads you through is thoughtful and shared. Each point is made well, and there isn’t a reason to question his intention. His intent is to share the information and reveal where the thoughts led him. Like a person explaining how a machine works, Curt takes you through the tenet of the principal, the history, its direction and inevitable outcomes.
This isn’t his first work either. He made a highly acclaimed documentary titled “Islam and The Future of Tolerance” which was successful. Curt does well in his delivery in an objective, almost cold and under emotional way. Some of the darker bits of information he shares required a somber tone and posture, and that lands very well also. His method, tone, language, and general presentation is artistic. Whether you perceive art as something with acclimation of critics, which he most certainly will receive, or a story of emotion, which this absolutely is, Curt covered the bases.
How it Stacks Up in the Genre
Better Left Unsaid is a journey. It leads the viewer through an emotional stroll through imagery and sound that will inspire you to feel. Never mind the topic, forget what the subject is, it could have been about the drug war or true crime, BLU is a wonderful documentary that achieves what it wanted to; your understanding of the culture.
It is not a slow burner, but it also does not burn itself out too quickly. The pace is fast, but it is consistent. The content is credible because it uses the publicly available information presented by the wings themselves. BLU is a work of art that will stand by itself, not because it is dangerous, but because the danger of the subject is worthy of its place in a crowded genre. It is not forgettable and it is worthy of you sharing it with your friends and family. It is political like “Trump: An American Dream” and social like “The Social Delima”. It’s worth your time, and you won’t want the 90-100 minutes of your time back.