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.
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Michael Moore does an excellent job weaving together a narrative to explain why rampant, unprincipled capitalism is detrimental to our democracy. The best point he makes in the film is about plutocracy. Moore explains how the American middle class is disappearing and American society is dividing into a small collection of citizens with money and power (the 1%), and the rest of us (the 99%), who lose our homes whenever the economy takes a dump.
This should concern all Americans. It doesn't matter if you're a Democrat or a Republican. The "money class" of wealthy Americans are draining the savings of the middle-class, and getting away with it, too.
This film is convincing. It's polished and professional, and it held my attention. I understood all of Moore's arguments.
Here's where I have problem with Moore-- he neglects the other side of the story. Now, I've seen other work by Moore, and this is pretty consistent of him. He's very good at presenting one side of an issue, and ignoring anything that doesn't fit into his narrative.
Here's what I mean... I believe that in this film, Moore is correctly describing unprincipled capitalism. But he brands capitalism (as a whole) as a destructive force, and holds up socialism as a cure for greed and an economically unbalanced society.
BUT... BUT.... what Moore neglects to mention is that ANY economic system that's unprincipled, unethical, and unregulated will result in a few rich people controlling all of society's wealth. The rest of us slobs will be laboring away in a factory while the uber-rich are kicking it on their yachts. That can happen in a socialist economy just like in a capitalist economy if the government allows corruption and the concentration of wealth into a few hands. And socialism is not without it's flaws. Look around the world and there's plenty of examples of socialism gone wrong. Italy... anyone?
Moore does a good job in this film of uncovering the "scam" of American capitalism and exposing how wealth was transferred from the middle-class to the banking class during the 2008 financial crisis. But I disagree with Moore's diagnoses that the problem is capitalism on it's face. That same scam is viable in any economic system. The problem is a lack of ethics and principles, and no government regulation. The US Government enabled this transfer of wealth. That's the problem. That can happen in any corrupt system.
Moore makes some really good points, and I think this film is worthwhile for every American to view, and it should wake people up to how political parties use social wedge issues to get the middle class to vote against their economic self-interest. But Moore blames capitalism and holds socialism up as a cure. I think a counter-argument is that the problem is corruption, and the cure is the enforcement of fiscal ethics through strict government oversight. Of course that means that the middle class would have to provide oversight by voting for their own fiscal self-interest. Which is another of Moore's points.
So my overall opinion on this movie: It's pretty good, but debatable.
video capturing so you can show them to others who don't have time to see the whole movie!!