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Jamie Johnson, 20-year-old heir to the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical empire, turns in a remarkable documentary about the lives of the children of the wealthiest families in the world. This 2003 Sundance Film Festival Selection and Emmy-nominated documentary shows Johnson turning the camera on himself and 10 of his friends. Born Rich candidly reveals the great privileges and the excess baggage that go along with their high net worth. For the first time ever in a feature documentary, hear Trumps, Bloombergs and Vanderbilts discuss the one subject everybody knows is taboomoney, and lots of it.
Georgianna Bloomberg, media heiress
Stephanie Ercklentz, finance heiress
Cody Franchetti, textile heir
Christina Floyd, professional sports heiress
Juliet Hartford, A&P Supermarket heiress
Josiah Hornblower, Vanderbilt/Whitney heir
S.I. Newhouse IV, media heir
Ivanka Trump, real estate heiress
Luke Weill, gaming industry heir
Carlo von Zeitschel, European royalty
-Commentary by director Jamie Johnson, producer Dirk Wittenborn and textile heir Cody Franchetti
Top Customer Reviews
What the kids say really runs the gamut. Ivanka Trump comes across very level headed, even saying at one point that she couldn't understand why people treated her differently when she was younger, because the money that got her that type of attention was her parents', and she wasn't going to give it to that person. Josiah Hornblower and S.I. Newhouse came across really sympathically, seeming really embarassed about their family's money. As some of the newpaper reviewers have pointed out, these two seem to want to succeed, despite their parent's money.
Stephanie Ercklentz and Christina Floyd come across as a bit frivolous, but not shallow. Cody Franchetti seems to be desperate to sound really intellectual, and for the most part he succeeds, but at times, it seems really forced. Carlo Von Zeitschel and Georgina Bloomberg are only seen for short clips, so it not possible to get a really good sense of who they are. Von Zeitschel does do a good job of playing all European and jaded, but he also seems very nervous about talking on camera.
The most ballyhooed participant was Luke Weil, because he sued Jamie Johnson. He seemed really troubled and dysfunctional when it comes down to it, like he was going to fall apart at any moment. Everyone who reviewed this documentary before said he came across as shallow, but to me, he just seemed really pathetic. He was the sort of person no one would take an interest in if he didn't have money. Velvet ropes part for him, because he is a wealthy person. One wonders if that would happen if he wasn't.Read more ›
Ultimately, however, this film (like all good documentaries) is a study of individuals. Meaning that the average viewer will probably end up liking some of these kids while loathing others. Just like any other group of people. I can't say that I learned anything earth shattering or even terribly new here but as a character study, "Born Rich" is fascinating stuff.
And despite the famous phrase, one comes away with the sense that the rich AREN'T so different after all.
Jamie Johnson is clearly attempting to elevate himself out of that puddle in this project and is likeable and seemingly more mature than many of the subjects in this documentary, but many of his thoughts about his lifestyle lack profundity. Of course, this isn't really surprising given his age (21) when he made this.
It's somewhat amusing and somewhat sad that while these privileged young people employ their Brown University educations to quote philosophers like Balzac and writers like Hemmingway, they don't have any of the life experience to relate to these thinkers. I hate to break it to Jamie and the others in the film, but many of the conclusions he'd reached have already been reached by others for generations. They are just too insulated to realize that what they are just now "discovering" about the challenges of their position is old news.
All in all, the documentary seems to conclude with the notion that all the adjustment problems of these wealthy young heirs come from the fact that wealth is often not discussed in polite company, but rather sprung on them when they are "of age", which I suppose makes the rest of the world not involved in the elite society impolite since we have been talking about this for quite some time now.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Cool movie, very hard to find so I bought it on here, found it very interestingPublished 2 months ago by Philip Harrison
It was interesting to note that people who were born without any thought of how an item is paid for be it merchandise or healthcare that how little they cared about money.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Why do the rich always tell us how generous they are? These kids don't "live" any of that.
Worth the couple of bucks. Especially the parts with Trump daughter.
Used for research into my thesis - gives insights into a world that few are part of and the rest seldom see.Published 6 months ago by ExecConsult
A good documentary. It helps us 99% to get a view into what it MIGHT be like to be a one-percenter. Granted, there may be some bias, but when isn't there? Read morePublished 10 months ago by Randy Given
Thank you all that were involved in the creation of this documentary, especially Jamie Johnson. It has helped me gain perspective on the human experience from a point of view I... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Gustoni