CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY: The Film Babble Blog Review

CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY (Dir. Michael Moore, 2009)

This time out filmmaker/muckraker Michael Moore brings his tried and trusty methods (idyllic 50’s stock footage, Baby Boomer-era hit songs, a megaphone, stern evil unemotional old white men, and bringing it all back home to Flint, Michigan) to the financial crises of the last few years. “There’s gotta be some kind of a rebellion between the people that have nothing and the people that’s got it all” says Randy Hacker as he and his family are getting evicted from his home early in the film and it’s impossible not to get emotional. Trouble is as much as my eyes teared up, they rolled more at Moore’s antiquated antics throughout the movie.

“This is capitalism – a system of taking and giving, mostly taking.” Moore’s voice-over tells us as he sets up his thesis. He darts around from heartfelt salt of the Earth stories to scolding exposés of corporate practices like “dead peasant insurance” which has companies profiting from employee’s deaths. This is all almost entirely aimed at the banking system – Moore even at one point unrolls a long strip of yellow police tape around the entrances of the towers in Wall Street’s banking district. It’s a crime scene you see? Yeah, you get it.

I’ve long thought Moore was fighting the good fight with his heart in the right place, however here he’s again preaching to the choir and will doubtfully earn many new converts with this piece of pop doc polemic. There was a smattering of applause at the end at the theater I saw this film in but the folks who would go to an art theater to see a Michael Moore movie these days are certainly already on his side. A number of effective points and a definite worthwhile discussion can be provoked by Moore’s material but his shtick of accosting security guards and senators (as well as dubbing stock footage for his purposes) has gotten beyond old at this late date.

Of course, just a discussion among likeminded folks is not what Moore wants. He wants that full on rebellion that Hacker spoke of above just like he wanted FAHRENHEIT 9/11 to deny George W. Bush another Presidential term (it didn’t) and SiCKO to help change the U.S. Health Care situation (it hasn’t). (Possible Spoiler! Wait, can there really be a spoiler in a film like this?) Moore makes this plea at the very end of the film: “You know I can’t do this anymore – unless those of you who are watching this in the theater want to join me. I hope you will, and please speed it up.” Well, I just have to say: good luck with that!

More later…

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