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Parents' Guide to

Human Capital

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Uneven but engaging drama has language, sex, drinking.

Movie NR 2020 95 minutes
Human Capital Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

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Based on a 2004 novel by Stephen Amidon, this multi-thread drama is intricately designed and boldly acted, though its form may be a little outsized compared to its actual content. Adapted by Oscar nominee Oren Moverman (The Messenger) and directed by Marc Meyers, Human Capital (which is also a remake of a 2013 Italian movie) adopts a serious tone, rather than building any kind of suspenseful whodunit from the bicyclist's death. But since it has other interesting stories to tell, this approach works fairly well.

The parts about Drew's financial woes and Shannon's blooming romance have strong emotional beats, but the segment focusing on Carrie's attempts to do something great with the old theater seem stretched too thin, a complicated means to a not-very-interesting end. And, ultimately, the theme of "human capital" -- the satirical question of what human beings in this story are actually worth -- doesn't offer much sting. Instead, it feels more like a grim resignation. But the strong, memorable parts of Human Capital outweigh those that don't work well, and it's worth seeing.

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