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Capitalism: A Love Story Offers Solutions

Published September 23, 2009 in Movie Reviews
By Fred Topel | Images property of Paramount Vantage
Michael Moore is back in his old wheelhouse. Financial accountability seems to be where he does his best work. Capitalism: A Love Story holds America to the same scrutiny he held General Motors to in Roger & Me, and many more companies than the profound and little seen The Big One.

Capitalism: A Love Story Review


Usually Michael Moore’s movies make me appreciate how few real problems I actually have. I can’t complain about my lifestyle when people’s can’t feed their kids or pay their hospital bills. This time, I feel like I’m right there with them. Capitalism doesn’t have as much of the humor that I thought made some of Moore’s most powerful points, but man, I don’t know how much laughing I’m prepared to do on this subject.

The film explains capitalism in layman’s terms, and really how a seemingly fair idea gets manipulated and how reality just doesn’t measure up. As much as you can argue, “No, no, Michael. You’re not taking this into account and you’re overlooking that.” The reality is, it didn’t work. Quite late in the film it’s pointed out, the very institutions that touted fair market ended up begging for a bailout, so they didn’t pay their own consequences. The point is that you can always technically defend a principal, but if it ends up bad for the majority of people, then it’s just not okay.

The numbers are documentable. Sure, it’s simplified but so is the idea that a fair market will work everything out. Both arguments end up in the same place, so I’m not really going to double check the statistics. If everyone were prospering, I’d see it.

Showing the goofy Bush videos is easy, but it’s just an interstitial. He still shows what Bush really said and did. Showing the movie clips where Reagen abuses women is irrelevant. Obviously his acting career did not represent his politics. That video his public addresses is real though. Religion may seem like an inappropriate subject to bring up, but then the politicians claim it on their side, so he’s just showing that actual devout people don’t support them.


Capitalism: A Love Story PosterCapitalism: A Love Story


Capitalism presents some sobering practices that we never even heard about under all the coverage of the mortgage crisis. I mean, locking up children? Seriously? That happened in America? Pilots are a great demonstration for the disparity of wealth. You’ve got to agree they’re worth more than $20K a year.

The stock talk is such nonsense that nobody could even explain it. I’ve always thought that was fake money. You buy shares so that when they grow, you sell them for a profit. But when people sell, they’re worth less. But until you sell them, you’re just owning abstract commodities with some value assigned based on their monetary worth, which changes when you sell them. But really, if you just understand all the complexities of it, it makes total sense, right? And everyone succeeds at it.

The film does explain how banks fooled people into those ridiculous mortgages. They sold a bullsh*t scheme and legalized it. Then they buried the warnings the FBI tried to give us. How did they trick people into wanting in on a home loan scheme when they were doing just fine already? That’s the crime. Now, I still hold us accountable for falling for it. We should have all said, “No, we do not want loans that charge us interest on principal we’ll never pay down.” But even if you tell someone you’re going to f*ck them, it’s still rape.

There are still a few Moore on the street stunts and they’re really weak. At this point, he’s almost trying to do stuff he’ll never get away with it. Once the point is not to make an impression, it’s not a good stunt. But where Capitalism: A Love Story surpasses any other Michael Moore film is that it offers solutions. It shows people overcoming corporations. We fight back. Finally, progress.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Images property of Paramount Vantage
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