MovieMantz Review: 'Capitalism: A Love Story'

'Capitalism: A Love Story' Premiere (September 15, 2009) 'Capitalism: A Love Story' Premiere (September 15, 2009)

“In Moore We Trust”

“Capitalism: A Love Story”
Written, Produced and Directed by Michael Moore

Twenty years after he put his economically depressed hometown of Flint, MI, on the map with “Roger and Me,” guerilla documentarian Michael Moore comes full circle with “Capitalism: A Love Story.” Where Moore’s last film, 2007’s “Sicko,” was slightly ahead of its time for examining the downfall of the U.S. healthcare system, “Capitalism” is right on the money for questioning the hypocrisies that have corrupted the free enterprise system at a time when more Americans are strapped for cash than at any other time since the Great Depression.

By asking how this happened, “Capitalism” will make you laugh, it will make you cry and it will make you angry — in other words, par for the course for a Michael Moore movie. But that’s what makes it required viewing, just like 2002’s “Bowling for Columbine,” 2004’s landmark “Fahrenheit 9/11,” and “Sicko.” Like those films, “Capitalism” can be a little too manipulative, and it goes off on one tangent too many. But it’s powerful stuff, regardless of whether “Capitalism” is merely a cry for change or, more dramatically, a rally for revolt.

Moore is obviously very well versed when it comes to what he’s talking about, but the key to his talent has always been his ability to make moviegoers understand his subjects without confusing them and, in effect, losing them. He brings his audience in, mostly because he shows how individuals are directly affected by the issues at hand, whether they care to acknowledge them or not.

He also goes straight to the source by interviewing hard-hit Americans about their own preposterous ordeals. Take airline pilots, who are entrusted with countless lives while making so little money that they have to rely on food stamps. Take a family, whose father’s company made $5 million on his life insurance policy after his untimely death. And of course, take the everyday people who are evicted from their homes because they can no longer pay their mortgages.

Moore traces the downfall of the free enterprise system back to the election of President Ronald Reagan in 1980. That’s when Washington theoretically merged with Wall Street, forcing Capitol Hill to be more concerned with the CEOs who ran the top banks than the hard-working Americans who owed more money to those banks. Of course, it all came crashing down in September of 2008, when the failure of those once-sturdy banks, like Washington Mutual and Merrill Lynch, brought the U.S. economy to the brink of total collapse.

Moore can’t resist taking a few last shots at his favorite target, George W. Bush, but he balances all the doom and gloom with the potential for change — change that hopefully started with the election of Barack Obama. But for Moore, that’s just the beginning, as the entire notion of capitalism is due for a major overhaul. So leave it to someone as bold as Moore to start the ball rolling by sealing off the New York Stock Exchange with yellow crime scene tape. The question is, isn’t it about time that we, as Americans, were bold enough to join him?

Verdict: SEE IT!

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