New from Al and Linda Lerner on Movies and Shakers: Unfit: The Psychology of Donald Trump

This is a well-produced, yet frightening film analyzing Donald Trump’s qualifications and mental fitness to be President, but it’s like spitting into the wind. Director Dan Partland interviews experts in psychology and psychiatry along with political associates and appointees to determine how stable Trump is, or not. 

Partland uses slick presentation with colorful animation to show a lumbering vision of Trump for transition throughout the film. Tree Adams provides whimsical music to go along with those visuals.

This film comes out on the heels of Donald Trump’s acceptance for a second run to stay in the White House. This film supports this moment when Trump keeps promoting “The Big Lie,” that this President has everything under control, despite the Coronavirus Pandemic, the economy and racial reckoning. His distortion of reality is called “Gaslighting.” Repeat any lie long enough and loud enough and some people will believe it. Enough for President Donald Trump to win a second term?

The interviews include experts from the field of psychiatry and psychology who point out evidence of the underlying sickness Trump brings to all his interactions; be they business, politics, even golf. He can’t help but lie and cheat as is almost comically shown by Sportswriter Rick Reilly with footage of how Trump uses his putter to cheat on the green. Samuel L. Jackson, who has golfed with him, corroborates. 

Tony Schwartz, co-author Art of the Deal recognized right away the tactics of this con man. Trump fosters victimization and fear and, according to these experts, loves every minute using the power he has over others. Partland has added plenty of snippets from TV interviews where Trump gleefully admits his tough, vindictive persona.

Loyalty is shown to be all-important to Trump. He’s been diagnosed as a “malignant narcissist.” PHD Psychologist John Gartner minces no words labeling Trump as such. Psychiatrist Dr. John Lance Dodes says he has “Anti-Social Personality Disorder” explaining that if he thinks, even his friends, have flipped on him, he’ll let them know about it. In a clip, Trump proudly states, “I love to get even with people.” 

Once anyone in his circle stops showing blind loyalty or utters an opinion other than Trump’s, they’ll quickly read a tweet meaning “You’re fired!” Partland shows photos of so many men and women he hand-picked for his Administration he’s already bounced or have quit. Evidence Anthony Scaramucci who lasted just 11 days in the job. This former insider and friend says “Trump is not a racist, he’s an a**hole, that’s different than being a racist.” 

Besides Scaramucci, prominent detractors include outspoken George Conway, who says Donald Trump “is like a practical joke that got out of hand.”  Former Republican Conway gets emotional talking about witnessing his Phillipino mother as a young boy being a victim of racism. He is disturbed seeing that same kind of racism in Trump today.

Donald Trump wants his base to believe that the Socialist Anarchist Left is their enemy and that he is the only one who can fix it. He may have not spent much time reading the ideas and speeches of diabolical dictators, but he learned their lessons well.

The experts also talk about Trump missing very important qualities necessary to be a good leader. He is too self-involved to be empathetic, compassionate and understanding. The psychiatrists describe his being a sociopath without conscience or heart witnessed by how he has separated immigrant families at the border, among other instances. 

Those who are more likely to watch this film and see the current President as a danger to democracy will have those beliefs validated watching this film. But it also shows how, in our tribal political culture, the Trump Base will not likely be moved, even if they do watch it. Director Partland dives deep into Trump’s psyche with first-hand knowledge and testimonials. This would be a fascinating character study, if only the stakes weren’t so high. 

Dark Star Pictures     1 hour and 23 minutes         Documentary

In select virtual cinema, August 28th. Available On Demand, September 1st.

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