In May 2018 former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama inked a multiyear agreement with Netflix to produce original series and films for the streaming giant, and today the first of those is available to watch. Called American Factory, the documentary follows the events of when a Chinese billionaire opens a new factory in an abandoned General Motors plant in Ohio and hires 2,000 blue-collar American workers to work alongside Chinese immigrants. As France24 explains:
In the new documentary’s early scenes, genuine attempts by the US and Chinese workers to bond with their new colleagues, including fishing and shooting lessons and shared Thanksgiving dinners, appear to bear some fruit.
But as the new Chinese owners become alarmed by heavy financial losses, they fire the American middle managers and increasingly invoke their Chinese replacements’ sense of nationalistic pride to spur harder work, leaving the workforce ever-more divided.
So far the reviews for American Factory have been off the charts. Currently, it’s got a 97% Tomatometer rating on review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes. That’s good news for both Higher Grounds Productions, the Obamas’ Netflix production company, which acquired American Factory after it played at Sundance earlier this year, and for Netflix. The streaming service craves high-quality original content that also has a shot at winning major film awards. And since American Factory also debuted in a few select theaters this week, it will be eligible for an Oscar nomination next year.
After American Factory, the Obamas already have at least another four pieces of original content in the pipeline for Netflix. You can check out the American Factory trailer below. It’s streaming on Netflix as of today.