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Capitalism: A Love Story
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On the 20-year anniversary of his groundbreaking masterpiece Roger & Me, Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story comes home to the issue he's been examining throughout his career: the disastrous impact of corporate dominance on the everyday lives of Americans (and by default, the rest of the world). But this time the culprit is much bigger than General Motors, and the crime scene far wider than Flint, Michigan. From Middle America, to the halls of power in Washington, to the global financial epicenter in Manhattan, Michael Moore once again takes filmgoers into uncharted territory. With both humor and outrage, Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story explores a taboo question: What is the price that America pays for its love of capitalism? Years ago, that love seemed so innocent. Today, however, the American dream is looking more like a nightmare as families pay the price with their jobs, their homes and their savings. Moore takes us into the homes of ordinary people whose lives have been turned upside down; and he goes looking for explanations in Washington, DC and elsewhere. What he finds are the all-too-familiar symptoms of a love affair gone astray: lies, abuse, betrayal...and 14,000 jobs being lost every day. Capitalism: A Love Story is both a culmination of Moore's previous works and a look into what a more hopeful future could look like. It is Michael Moore's ultimate quest to answer the question he's posed throughout his illustrious filmmaking career: Who are we and why do we behave the way that we do?
Michael Moore's didactic documentary style is actually a source of inspiration in Capitalism: A Love Story. This film, which explores the history of incongruence between American capitalism and democracy, is evidently a culmination of Moore's lifetime of research into this topic: he begins the movie by admitting his longstanding interest, rooted in childhood experiences in Flint, Michigan. As a result, the film displays an expertise that is less irritating than in Moore's earlier works, in which various loopholes can be found in one-sided presentations (see Bowling for Columbine). Here Moore employs his trademark tactics to make a satirical documentary that functions as a film-based, grassroots political strategy meant to provoke revolt. Consisting of patched-together clips from various eras and media outlets, the film weaves a narrative that underscores Moore's argument that while America is a success because of its democracy, it has been denigrated by capitalism, which he calls "a system of taking and giving, mostly taking." Capitalism: A Love Story is a patriotic call to arms that seeks to ignite rage in the viewer who is tired of political stupidity resulting in poverty and hardship among a dwindling middle class. It begins by tracing the growing gap between the rich and poor, from the Depression through the 1950s "free enterprise" boom. Using clips of FDR and Jimmy Carter warning against greed and inequality, Moore shows how gradually Americans came to accept Reaganomics, corporate corruption, then Bush-era swindling over time. This history serves as context for his explanation of the housing crisis, the collapse of banks, and Bush's covert, last-ditch efforts to pass sketchy bills on the cusp of Obama's election. Moore asks several lawyers, senators, and bankers, "What the **** happened?" and each offers intelligent assessments of situations that many American viewers still struggle to comprehend. Unfortunately, there are corny Moore moments throughout the film, such as when he takes an armored truck to various banking headquarters and harasses security guards to let him in to reclaim money stolen from the American public. Clips of Bush dancing juxtaposed with shots of people crying because they've lost their homes are melodramatic and only weaken Moore's arguments. Like Robin Hood, Moore seeks justice, but his greatest strength is as a translator between those speaking a complex political language and his viewers. Capitalism: A Love Story, while it does have a condescending tone throughout, does much to relay a complicated history that we all need to know for the sake of our own empowerment. --Trinie Dalton
Stills from Capitalism: A Love Story (Click for larger image)
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Top Customer Reviews
video capturing so you can show them to others who don't have time to see the whole movie!!
To me that's what Moore's latest film is: a cinematic treatise on crime. Moore uses his excellent skills as an editor to piece together films in a manner that makes you want to scream "Where does he find this stuff?" to paint a telling picture of what America is: a plutocracy. And yes, Mike uses that word and wants us all to learn it, even providing a definition straight out of a textbook.
What Moore also excels at is humanizing crises and the class war by showing us just who's affected by these forces and why. We're shown people, real people being thrown out of their homes, being pushed out of their jobs, being paid meager salaries to do dangerous, complicated work, and being informed that companies profited from the deaths of their loved ones through something called "dead peasant insurance."
He even speaks to various clergy to try and find any sort of modern moral justification for capitalism. He can't. One priest even goes as far as to state flatly that "Capitalism is radically evil."
Speaking of all things radical, Moore puts himself on the line by trying to raid the offices of financial institutions, implores us to do the same, and backs that strategy up by showing current examples of how dissent and popular revolt can turn the tables on the gluttons in power, even if those victories are as small as one family being allowed to stay in their foreclosed home and window factory workers given severance payments after a long sit-in.
However, what "Capitalism" isn't is a mere bleeding-heart piece that is all emotion. Mike tends to do his homework. And that's what makes him a firebrand. The evidence is laid bare for the viewer to see.
There are some who would call Michael Moore and his documentaries "anti-American." He's even told by one Wall Streeter to "stop making movies" when trying to get an accurate definition of what are called "derivatives." Although I would definitely call Moore a subversive, I challenge anyone to find an ounce of hatred towards America in this piece. No, Michael Moore loves America, but his America is made up of those who toil and have little or nothing. His America is being looted by people that can only be described as white-collar sociopaths who would be selling heroin or whoring out young girls had they not been brought up in wealthy families.
You also get a generous serving of Michael's trademark humor to make it all go down easier. It has been said that the best way to take the powerful down a peg or two is by poking fun at them, and Moore doesn't just poke at them, he runs them through with swords of bitingly comedic steel.
If I had one gripe about "Capitalism" it would be that there was so much more ground that could have been covered. That's why I feel that a sequel is in order as well as a prequel since Moore rather glosses over earlier American history. But I suppose that's what he have Howard Zinn for.
Yes, this is a paramount polemic against capitalism and dare I say FOR socialism. Even Bernie Sanders gets some facetime.
As someone who has been identifying as a socialist for years, I can say that it only reinforced my belief that the free market is unsustainable, as if my personal experience as an American worker hasn't been enough to do so. Demons lurk in the details though, and Moore not only shines a light of veracity on them, he also splashes them with holy water, as any left-leaning Catholic such as Moore would.
Christ wasn't a capitalist sympathizer, something Moore also shows us, and neither is Moore himself. So why should you be? It's not in your best interests to be one. Think of this as an intervention by way of motion picture for your friends and family who are thoroughly in love with an abusive spouse that is all take and no give.
Talk about a great candidate for an ABC Sunday Night Movie. If I could hold screenings for "Capitalism" I would. It needs to be seen by far more people than any action/adventure blockbuster.
Thanks for makin' the devils hiss, Mike. And for making socialism taste so good.
Not clear if Moore believes that Capitalism is bad because it's born of greed or that it lends to greed. Also, when he suggests on the one hand that out of fear, Barrack Obama is labeled a "Socialist", then, on the other hand, suggests/implies maybe Socialism is worth a try, I got a little lost. Troubling, yes, but the film is well-paced and keeps the viewer involved. Footage of Congressman Cummings and of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Jimmy Carter, will ensure revisitation. ["Features" has the full length Carter address, which has 100% relevance for today. But by 1981, the exact antithesis of his words came into play, by the election of the anti-environment, pro-Wall Street, G.E. and Merrill-Lynch icon, Ronald Wilson Reagan, whose by-word was "de-regulation"].
If the underlying message of the movie was more *let's keep Wall Street in check*, and less *let's copy Europe*, I would have given "Capitalism: A Love Story" five stars.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This guy is right on target.