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October 7, 2009 > Movie Review: Capitalism: A Love Story

Movie Review: Capitalism: A Love Story

Rated R for some language
By Susana Nunez


Let's start out with a simple fact: this film is rated R. I've seen much worse films that are rated PG-13 (e.g. The Ring) so this leads one to believe that the powers that be feel that parental guidance is completely necessary. If you are under 17, you cannot handle a film that presents capitalism in a negative light. You can handle a bit of horror, yes, but interviews with economists and families who have lost their homes are a big "No." There's something completely disconcerting about that.

Capitalism: A Love Story is Michael Moore's 20-year anniversary piece, and as most of his films do, it comes at a time when the nation is going through drastic changes. In this case, the economic downturn that came to light in 2008. Last year, the market crashed in a way the country hadn't seen in over 50 years, and sadly, not even the government was prepared to handle it. Company after company went under, and even larger-than-life corporations shut down many of their branches across the nation. We're still living through this recession now, except its shocking effect has worn; now, we're all just waiting to see what happens next, and hoping that there will be some sort of comforting ending.

Moore presents the story leading up to the crash, and follows it with families who have lost everything. He analyzes some of the bigger names, like Wal-Mart, and how they manage to stay on top. One of these reasons was rather interesting- an insurance policy on employees that pays employers if the employee were to pass away, known as the Dead Peasants policy. Moore tends to use tactics that emotionally pull us (like personalizing the situation) but it is important to remember that he does have his own bias. At first, the Dead Peasants policy seems immoral and downright wrong, but there's more to it than what is presented in the film. Essentially, it is an insurance policy that your employer pays for, so why would they not be the beneficiaries? The examples that Moore presents are told through widows and families who have lost their loved ones, making it easy to sympathize. One of them was a special case, as well, since they were still heavily in debt with hospital bills, meaning the employer wasn't too concerned with providing proper health coverage.

The film also analyzes the hectic bailout situation between banks and the government. Moore interviews congressman and asks them about what exactly was going on, and what was happening to regulations, as well. He investigates how Goldman Sachs managed to make its way deep into the White House and possibly watch out for its own benefits as other companies went under during the crash. This is a situation that is still being investigated, since GS got a lot of unwanted media coverage on bailout amounts. The public backlash of the bailout has sparked company sit-ins and protests by those who are losing their jobs and thus, their homes, while others may be benefiting from it all.

But Moore does give viewers hope, as his interviews and stories lead up to the election of President Obama. Moore is a big supporter, and feels Obama's election is proof that the country decided enough was enough. The film is worth watching but remember that parental guidance is mandatory. And please refrain if you have a heart condition.

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