Capitalism: A Love Story

  • Review Date: September 22, 2009
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 105 minutes

Common Sense Media says

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

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

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 15 years old Written byP dump April 9, 2010

Rated R for language policy.

Good doc. Mr. Moore provides great comedy to a serious film. Very good and down to earth. Rated R for three F Bombs used as expletives. Cussed maybe like five times total.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Kid, 11 years old September 27, 2009

Mature teens

I haven't seen this movie yet but really want too. I saw the commercial and thought it looked really interesting and funny.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Kid, 12 years old October 3, 2009

fascinating shocking doc is stndard micheal moore material

those familiar with micheal moore's films know what to expect here but even i was shocked by the carefull level of crafting that went into the movie and how they attacked both sides there are some relatively funny moments to go along with ths hocking moments such as the life insurance policies taken out on dead people.some of the funny bits include the part when he compares the coutrywide commercials with the prettylady as being quote " the same offer the mafia gives you" the film sometimes goes on with to much but all his films do that so grade A-


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?


What are the different ways that you access Common Sense Media ratings and information? (Check all that apply)

Essential Apps Guide