A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What 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.
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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.
Talk to your kids 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?
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