Joel? Ethan? Romney has a surprise for you

Mitt Romney in the Netflix 2014 documentary film MITT, directed by Greg Whiteley. Photo courtesy of Netflix 26zoom
Mitt Romney in the Netflix documentary film “Mitt.”
“O Brother Where Art Thou?”

Greg Whiteley’s documentary “Mitt,” about Mitt Romney’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns, offers several surprises concerning our former governor. The film is currently available on Netflix.

We see Romney ironing a shirt cuff — while wearing the shirt. His wife, Ann, is mildly horrified. He does get the wrinkle out. Or there’s the sight of Romney picking up trash on the balcony outside his hotel room. This is shortly before his first debate with Barack Obama. Neatness is next to presidentialness?

What may be the biggest surprise has to do with movies. A few minutes into the documentary, Romney is sitting in a chair getting makeup applied to his face prior to a 2008 campaign appearance. “You saw ‘O Brother Where Art Thou?’ ” he asks the cosmetician. “Oh gosh, that is the best movie ever.”


Ann Romney agrees. “The best political lines,” she explains. “You’ll hear them the whole campaign. I’ve quoted at least two of them this morning.”

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Maybe it’s a governor thing, since it’s Charles Durning’s gubernatorial character Mitt Romney cites. “You’ve got to listen to the political lines. Listen to Pappy O’Daniel when he talks. ‘Just go write my concession speech right now,’ ” Romney quotes him saying.

So the Romneys are fans of the Coens, or at least of that one movie of theirs. “Fargo” would seem more to their taste. Isn’t that the beauty of the movies, though? You never can predict who’s going to like what. Ronald Reagan, for example, had “Reds” screened at the White House and loved it. Romney can only speculate what movies he would have had screened. Well, like Reagan, at least he can now say he’s starred in a movie.