Scenes like this are typical in the film, which depicts the fallout after Shanghai-based Fuyao Glass revives a former GM plant and hires many of its former American workers. The employees are at first excited to find new jobs, but soon find themselves struggling to swallow a fraction of their former pay, difficult working conditions and the prospect that, no longer protected by a union, they could be fired at any moment.
The documentary, which debuts on Netflix on August 21, never mentions President Donald Trump by name—but its message is clear: Trump’s promise to reinvigorate the industrial heartland is going to take a lot more than a campaign slogan. There are no easy solutions. And if some manufacturing jobs do come back, they’re going to look nothing like they used to. Americans will have to accept a new reality to stay competitive in the global marketplace—one that they might not like, and one that Trump doesn’t acknowledge.