‘Capitalism’: A Long Story?

capitalism_love_story_posterCapitalism. It’s a large subject to tackle in one documentary. My boyfriend pointed this out to me as I shared some complaints I had with Michael Moore’s new documentary, Capitalism: A Love Story. I see the point there, but I still can’t help but wonder how the director could have done things a little differently.

After some overly heavy analogies of the Roman Empire, the doc opens with a gripping home video of a family’s house being foreclosed. Foreclosure is the one subject in the documentary that Moore spends ample time on, and it proves to be effective and heart-wrenching.

It becomes apparent though how many subjects are brought up in such a short amount of time – everything from airline pilots making an astonishingly low annual income to the Republic Windows and Doors workers’ protest in Chicago last year. The result is usually a too-brief coverage of most issues. Oddly enough, the topic choices also felt sporadic and out of place, even though they all fit under the massive umbrella subject that is “the drawbacks of capitalism.” And yet, there were still issues he didn’t bring up at all.

I expected Moore to address the unemployment rates nationwide that happened due to the economic crisis. Instead, he focused here and there on Flint, Michigan (his hometown, a subject he’s been passionate about since the beginning of his career as a documentarian.) I also thought that surely Capitalism would address the issue that college students are facing now because of the crisis.  But aside from asking a few pilots about their massive college loans still to be paid off, Moore didn’t address this at all.

Ultimately, I felt like he left me hanging. Every story that he touched on briefly, I wanted to know more about it within the context of the documentary.

I don’t think it was a bad film, but I think it would’ve benefited from focusing on only a few topics expansively, as opposed to tiny snippets. Something like Hurricane Katrina, for instance, is too painful and socially critical to just brush over of at the very end of the film.

I’m not saying you won’t be interested in Capitalism: A Love Story – because you will be, for the most part. Though at times it might drone on during the least interesting parts (like a section dedicated to FDR), and feel rushed during the most captivating, Moore’s new documentary is worth watching. At least it’ll get you wanting to know more about the subjects he briefly introduces. And whether or not you’re a recent college graduate like I am, it will also piss you off. Really, really piss you off.

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