Parents' Guide to

Saving Capitalism

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Engaging docu on the increasing gap between rich and poor.

Movie NR 2017 73 minutes
Saving Capitalism Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 18+

Reich's method of saving capitalism won't work...

...because the progressives have always been for an authoritarian quasi-fascistic system. We don't have a free market. How can you save something that doesn't exist? This film is propaganda.
age 13+

Must watch, must share.

Watching Saving Capitalism right after “Requiem for the American Dream” is a very exhaustive experience. We already know that there is a problem. We don’t know the details about how the problem became a problem. Noam Chomsky listed the 10 principles that looks like a pirate’s map on tissue paper to a treasure. Saving Capitalism is a call for action saying “Let’s go, are you the sailor or the cargo.” I hope that every American, Canadian, Australian, European, will watch this and start talking about what they think, what they want 50 years down the road. But more importantly, I pray to God that every person in Hong Kong, from Hong Kong, will watch this and discuss it with their children what they want and how they want to get there. Then, I pray to God the every one of them 1300 million Chinese will have a chance to watch this so they can decide what they will do to those 1.3 million that are on the dark side climbing up to the top of the big corporations. There is no answer. There is no right or wrong. I am too old now. I had a successful life which I will say goodbye to soon. I wish the children good luck. I think these films are great compasses and tools and books that if the kids want to, they can change the world. Except I don’t know what kind of world they want, Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker.

This title has:

Great messages

Is It Any Good?

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Robert Reich readily admits that this documentary has a provocative title. As Saving Capitalism films Reich on his book tour promoting the book of the same title, he jokes of how, upon seeing the title, those right-of-center question what about the free-enterprise system needs "saving," exactly, while those left-of-center question why anyone would want to even bother saving such an immoral system. Be that as it may, Reich and the filmmakers do an excellent job of showing the widening gap between the haves and the have-nots, the shrinking middle class, how we got here, and what can be done about it. Through personal narrative discussing his career in Washington, D.C., instances of recent American history, and easy-to-understand graphs, Reich goes to the origins of what eventually led to an American system skewed to favor the rich at the expense of average Americans. He is shown as Labor Secretary in the 1990s offering a chillingly prescient prediction of the anger and resentment that develops as the rich get richer and everyone else works harder for less money.

And yet, despite all the doom and gloom, the documentary does offer glimmers of hope. Snapshots of the various protests that have arisen since Donald Trump's election are underscored with Reich connecting the problems of today with the Gilded Age of the 1880s and 1890s, when populist revolts stood up to the economic injustices of that time and eventually won out. He also sees many connections -- at least in terms of concerns over how "crony politics" rig the system -- between progressive protests and the Tea Party protests of 2010. He ends the movie encouraging viewers to get involved in democracy, and even offers suggestions on how to fight for change without becoming discouraged and losing both your hope and sense of humor.

Movie Details

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