Inequality for All

Movie review by
Tracy Moore, Common Sense Media
Inequality for All Movie Poster Image
Engaging economics docu encourages equality, activism.
  • PG
  • 2013
  • 90 minutes

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Political engagement; compassion; awareness of current events; activist spirit; understanding legal system; holding politicians and leaders accountable.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Robert Reich is warm, compassionate, and funny and an inspirational advocate for economic equality.

Violence

Some brief footage of protests, civil unrest, arrests, and police poking or pushing back protesters using their batons.

Sex
Language

"Pain in the ass," "hell."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Brief footage of cigarette smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Inequality for All is an inspirational, information-packed, and often funny documentary featuring former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich that aims to raise awareness about the widening inequality gap in America going back to the Depression but largely focused on the 1970s to today. It's conversational and easy to grasp, with lots of simple graphs and charts, but it's likely too sophisticated for young kids or those unfamiliar with basic concepts of money or the economy, much less national wealth distribution. There's some brief footage of protests, civil unrest, arrests, and police poking or pushing back protesters using their batons. Profanity includes "pain in the ass" and "hell."

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What's the story?

Former Clinton Administration Labor Secretary Robert Reich uses facts, figures, charts, graphs, and plain old charisma to preach the value of equality and the importance of activism and details a truly staggering, untold disparity in the distribution of wealth in this country.

Is it any good?

INEQUALITY FOR ALL does what most documentaries about economic issues can't do: It keeps your attention. This is in large part because Reich is such a charismatic and funny speaker, so compassionate and truly committed to raising awareness that it's hard not to engage with his simple, streamlined documentary.

Though it introduces complex subjects, it does so in such a way that the average person can get her or his mind around is, and the chart- and graph-heavy format is meant to inform caring people and activate them into smart, compassionate thinkers. Younger kids are unlikely to understand a lot of the material presented here, but kids old enough to be studying government, politics, or economics will find an easy-to-grasp primer on the situation, with a number of real-life examples of how everyday people struggle to make ends meet with declining salaries against rising costs and inflation in a world where the top 400 people in the country have more wealth than half of population. Truly staggering disparities are presented in rapid succession, but it's not so much to be overwhelming and enough to guide activist-leaning kids toward a better understanding of the new normal.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about income inequality. What can everyday people do to help fight it?

  • What is the minimum wage where you live? Do you think it's enough to live on? How can you help fight to raise it?

  • Do you think people can help change inequality? Or are we stuck with it in some form or another? Why?

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