Anthony's Film Review
Capitalism: A Love Story (2009)
Michael Moore is at his usual form as he explores runaway corporate greed...
In 1989, Michael Moore directed his first documentary film Roger and Me, which illustrates how the closing of a General Motors plant led to the economic decline of his hometown of Flint, Michigan. Since then, he made a career as a documentary filmmaker covering various major topics, including the Bush Administration and the Iraq War (Fahrenheit 9/11), healthcare (Sicko), and guns (Bowling for Columbine). Twenty years after his first film, Moore would essentially revisit the topic of Roger and Me but on a much broader scale. With Capitalism: A Love Story, he takes on the economic system that America takes pride in, a timely subject given the financial crisis of 2008.
The style of this movie is nothing new compared to what he's done before. This isn't a bad thing, because what he's done before works. He has a topic that's fresh on everyone's minds and presents stories that are connected to this main idea but have not been told to the mainstream before. He also lets the people on camera tell the story more than he does. I will say, though, that this film doesn't feel as fresh as some of his previous films. In other words, he presents content that I never saw before, but he also gives us content that I have already seen in various news sources, such as CNN, The Wall Street Journal, and CNBC. But he's not boring, so I give him credit for that.
As you may expect, Moore presents a summary of the housing bubble, subsequent home foreclosures, the collapse of major financial institutions, and its ripple effect on Main Street. But that's actually in the second half of the movie. First, he shows us plenty of other things, including a for-profit youth correction center, underpaid pilots (including the ones for a plane that crashed in Buffalo, NY), unfair life insurance policies, and deregulation under President Ronald Reagan, to illustrate capitalism run amok. He logically connects one segment to the next so that it feels seamless. And, of course, he throws in a bit of humor with publicity stunts against his targets, such as crime scene tape around the New York Stock Exchange.
On the topic of how biased Moore is, that's always a topic with every film he's done and this is no exception. Interestingly, I found myself barely questioning the accuracy of the information presented. With something like Fahrenheit 9/11, it's easy to feel unsure about the content because of how its one-sidedness might obscure other viewpoints. Capitalism: A Love Story is different because it's hard to see how the other side has a point. I mean, is there really any reason for Wall Street and corporations to take money unfairly from others? Good luck trying to defend their actions.
Even though this isn't the very best Moore movie, it's still a very good one. I will conclude by talking about the most important part of the movie. It's when Moore shows us the power of giving and helping one another. This is something a dear friend of mine, who devotes much of her time to charity, would be so glad to hear. Moore explores the dark side of capitalism but does not forget to remind us of the light side of the human spirit. After all, he loves America's past economic prosperity so much, as he benefitted from it in his early life, that he wants it for future generations, too. And like many of his other films, he doesn't just present a film for viewing. He does it to inspire, and he certainly has done so for me with Capitalism: A Love Story.
For more information about Capitalism: A Love Story, visit the Internet Movie Database.