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Jenaca Lafontaine

Midterm Essay assignment

The theme for the film This Divided State is freedom of speech and beliefs. The reason I say this is because the plot is about a debate between protestors and supporters of Michael Moore speaking to the school. The film portrays extremism when it comes to whether or not Michael Moore should have the freedom of speech in Utah. One example of the extremism shown is the view point of Kelly Anderson. The way he expresses how Utah is compared to the rest of the world and why Michael Moore should not speak at the college is by him expressing Utah as its own place, and not a part of the United States or the real world.

The place the film was shot has a huge play in the theme. This film was shot in Utah at Utah Valley University. The County and State that the film was shot in has a huge effect on the theme. Utah and Utah County are very conservative. A Gallup Survey shows Utah at 48% conservative (1). The reason it is important to know that Utah is conservative is because Michael Moore is Liberal. That played a major part in why many people did not want him to speak at UVU. Another thing to know about the theme is the time it was taking place. Michael Moore was supposed to speak in Utah two weeks before the presidential election. The state of Utah has been home to the Church of Latter-Day Saints and tends to be a

conservative community that supports Republican candidates. An example of how much Moors freedom of speech was not wanted by some individuals would be, outspoken critics businessman, Kay Anderson, who told reporters Moore hates our values and would like to destroy us;" he also offered the school 25,000 dollars to cancel the event (2). They did not want Moore to have his freedom of speech here because they felt like he would be corrupting the community and would destroy what they had created. The theme for this story does not make it strictly a Utah story. Although it does play a large part. I think that the same story could have been told in any other conservative state. One aspect of the theme that I do feel like more strongly relates to Utah is how the politics and the LDS religion tied together. I dont think that any other state has as strong of ties between the LDS religion and there politics and that plays a major role for this movies theme. From the film some supporters of Moore's visit questioned the political influence of the Mormon Church in Utah, while others wondered if someone can be a good Mormon and a liberal at the same time (2).

This film was made on a smaller budget than other films. I feel like since it was made on a smaller budget that it helped the film. The reason I say this is because it makes it feel like it really happened. The way it was set up makes you feel like you are really in the moment and in the scenes. It gives a feel for how each person felt as well. The film and theme express each persons point of view when it comes it freedom of beliefs and

speech. It takes the idea and gets really personal with the people and the community. I think if this film was made on a large budget they may not have set up how they did and it would not have the same feel to it.

In conclusion this film does express the theme of freedom of speech and freedom to believe whatever you want, no matter what state you are in or what the community is. The theme of the film is expressed in the location and the time frame and how the community reacts to different ideas. Also through the way the film was made on the low budget.


1. Eowyn, Dr. "Top 10 Most Liberal vs. Most Conservative States." Fellowship of the Minds. Blog at 4 Feb. 2013. Web. 22 Oct. 2013. <>. 2. "This Divided State." Rotten Tomatoes. 2005. Fixter Inc. 22 Oct. 2013 <>. 3.