Reel Society

Reviews for the latest movies in theaters and on DVD.

Capitalism: A Love Story

Capitalism A Love Story
Review by Matt Starr
Michael Moore has been perhaps the most polarizing filmmaker of the last decade. People literally either love him or hate him. I for the most part love his films. I am not going to get into my views on politics or whether I agree or disagree with the opinions of Michael Moore. Does he have bias in his documentaries? Absolutely. Can certain aspects of his films be questioned in terms of accuracy? Most likely. However his films are always entertaining and get me thinking about important topics. A lot of other films that I see can’t even manage to accomplish either of those.

Capitalism: A Love Story focuses on the economic system in America and how it has seeped into our government infrastructure to the point that the President himself is no longer calling the shots. There is footage of Ronald Reagan ringing the bell at the New York Stock Exchange and giving a speech where he is interrupted by a high ranking business executive and told to “hurry it up”.

Obviously the film also centers around the financial crisis of 2008 which in all likelihood sparked Moore to even make this film. Capitalism is definitely not on par with Moore’s best work which would include Roger and Me and Bowling for Columbine. Those films were far more effective in their presentation and journalism. Although the subject matter has always been serious, Moore’s films have always had elements of humor to them. Capitalism had a little too much of the unnecessary slapstick humor.

For example Moore has a few scenes devoted to trying to make a citizens arrest of a corporate executive and trying to reclaim the people’s lost money from Wall Street. The comedy is just too forced in these scenes and does not come natural as it did in previous films. I think Moore’s recognizable status is a big problem for him now in that he has fewer opportunities for interviews and less access to a lot of venues. It is basically the same problem Sacha Baron Cohen has now.   

There isn’t much information in this documentary that I did not already learn of in college. Maybe it’s because I went to a liberal school and had some very liberal professors but I was aware that America is all but a plutonomy now and that businesses only make decisions based on the bottom line. Moore uses examples of personal greed to display why capitalism does not work. Realistically any economic system is going to have people trying to take advantage of the system.

Although he does not come out and say it Moore is clearly a supporter of “that other ism”.  His film is not nearly enough to convince me that a different economic system is the solution nor will it likely be enough for any viewer. I think we all know the problem is not the economic system but rather the people who abuse it. Unfortunately most of us (including myself) are too busy watching videos of cats flushing toilets to do anything about it.

2 1/2 / 5 stars

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