Capitalism: A Love Story



Docu on corporate misdeeds names names, makes mistakes.
  • Review Date: September 22, 2009
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 105 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The film offers a clear, concise analysis of the current financial crisis that encourages discussion of the nature of capitalism and the question of how, or if, those in society who are better off can -- and should -- give to and support others.

Positive role models

Viewers meet a number of hardworking Americans coping with tough times with dignity ... and also see acts of greed and conspicuous consumerism.


Discussions of death, dying, and illness; implied threats of violence. Footage of plane crashes.


Some suggestive language.


Intermittent strong language, mostly within the interviews that Moore conducts. Words include "screw," "crap," "hell," "s--t," and three uses of "f--k."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some film clips show people drinking alcohol.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that, like all of Michael Moore's documentaries, this film has a very definite point of view. Moore has come in for criticism about how he handles the juxtaposition of factual analysis and opinion. Viewers need to think about what is analysis and information and what is editorial opinion. The movie's R rating is for language (the worst of which is three uses of "f--k"); you can also expect frequent discussion of death, dying, and hard times. Many corporations are mentioned by name, usually in the context of calling out their misbehavior.

What's the story?

In CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY, documentarian Michael Moore looks at America's recent financial crisis and proposes that it wasn't just caused by rampant profiteering by megacorporations and Wall Street -- he says that even the "bailout" created to save those banks represented more profiteering. Moore's thesis isn't merely that capitalism as we know it has to be reformed, but that capitalism as we know it has to be abolished. In interviews with financial experts and working-class Americans devastated by foreclosures and plant closings, Moore makes the case that our current form of capitalism is less a system of goods and services than a systematic crime perpetrated against ordinary people in the name of profit.

Is it any good?


Much of an audience's reaction to Capitalism: A Love Story will depend on their patience for Moore -- as in previous films, the director is also the on-screen star. His analysis is strong, but the film is weakened by his familiar lazy tricks. If you have experts who can (and will) talk about how banks and mortgage brokers have hurt America and Americans with thier practices, why spend time on unfunny "bits" like backing a armored car up to various banks in New York and demanding that executives come out and give back the money they got during the bailout?

But when Moore's film is headed in the right direction -- whether he's talking about how large corporations take out life insurance policies on their employees so that they profit in the event of those employees' deaths or he's looking at the legal and lobbying tactics behind the bailout while explaining the intimate link between the Federal Treasury and the investment banks it propped up with the bailout -- it's strong. Ultimately, though, Capitalism: A Love Story is so wandering and weakened by Moore's style that its moments of rich, righteous fury are diluted by Moore's own excesses and stylistic choices.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the essential issue raised by the film -- why is there such a gulf between "haves" and "have-nots" in America? Is the capitalist system irreparably broken?

  • Is there such a thing as a truly objective documentary? Do you think Moore is more or less effective at making his arguments by having an obvious point of view?

  • Is Michael Moore is one of the best-known documentary filmmakers in America because of the quality of his work or the press coverage he receives from enraging his enemies?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 2, 2009
DVD release date:March 9, 2010
Cast:Michael Moore
Director:Michael Moore
Studio:Overture Films
Run time:105 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:some language

This review of Capitalism: A Love Story was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 13, 15, and 16 year old Written byberechah December 27, 2009
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 14 and 19 year old Written byLeowolf77 October 8, 2009

I think it's easy to tell facts from opinions in this movie.

This may be Michael Moore's best and most objective film and brings up many issues our culture needs to face so we can move on and re-strengthen our nation. I think he provides a good role-model as seen above because he questions the motives of people in and around the government with detachment from any organization other than a citizen determined to make the best choice when voting. Really that's the responsibility of every American citizen: you get to control the government, but you need to know what you're doing. This movie also points out that the opportunity to become the ruling class should not outweigh the strength and unity of a group or nation working together to reach a common goal. Though some of his tactics (or stunts) can be crass from time to time he's only doing so to make a point. I would say that HE himself should be no one's guide to what they believe (I wish he would say that...). Everyone should come up with their own theories and decide on which ideas they support for themselves. But some of the facts he points out are nice to know on the journey to our own opinions. J. F. Kohler III
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 11 and 16 year old Written byelinor dashwood September 2, 2013

education against corporate greed

Great family values movie with my kids ages 10 and up. It took a hard look at corrupt banking practices. Of course, it is painful to acknowledge so much greed, but the movie was spliced together with so much creative and comic relief, that artistically, it was pleasant to watch. The positive role models were many: airline pilots, active union workers, a few good politicians, businesses like Alvardo St. bakery and Isthmus Engineering who run democratic businesses, 3 Catholic priests and a bishop, Pres. Roosevelt and Carter, etc. Although there was dismay, there was also hope. In one example, Bank of America took 25 billion in tax payer money from the bailout, and then refused to pay laid-off workers their last earned check. Fortunately, enough media attention corrected this injustice. There were a few swear words, but the overall tone of the movie was more wholesome than most PG movies, despite its R rating. A swear word by an elderly disabled mid-westerner who was almost in tears at losing his family farm seems in context with the tragedy. It had no violence, sexism, racism, nor any intense scenes. I didn't notice anything sexual or promoting alcohol besides clips from some campy 1950s luxury advertisements, shown in jest. There are positive interviews with the priests and bishop and clips of laid-off workers taking communion wafers and making the sign of the cross.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models


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