Capitalism: A Love Story

Your thoughts on “Capitalism: A Love Story,” Michael Moore’s latest left-wing “docu-ganda,” likely depend on which side of the political aisle you find yourself on. Liberals will eat it up. Conservatives will decry his free-markets-are-evil message. While I certainly lean more toward the former in terms of political views, I didn’t find myself as enthralled as I was during “Farenheit 9/11” or “Sicko.” Moore’s tactics are growing stale for me, and regardless of my personal thoughts on the subject, must-see cinema this is not.

Moore thinks capitalism is evil. There’s your plot summary. He uses his usual method of selective information and somewhat touching sob stories to beat you over the head with that point. There’s also a few scenes of his standard grand-standing, like when he tries to waltz into the GM building in Flint, Michigan with his cameras just to have a chat with the company’s chairman. Stuff like this is good for a chuckle or two, but it doesn’t advance any of his points.

Some of the stories are poignant. The one that struck closest to home (literally and metaphorically) was the case of the corrupt juvenile hall system in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Only 20 minutes or so from where I grew up, I remember reading all about this corruption in the newspaper (it went on for years; Moore only gets to the tip of the iceberg here). My main problem with this story, and some of the others, is that I thought the connective tissue was being stretched way too thinly. Do corrupt judges in a small Pennsylvania city mean capitalism is evil? Sure, their corruption was awful and people suffered, but corruption can be present in more socialist-style economies, and the consequences of that arguably are worse.

The film is not entirely without its moments. There’s a song near the beginning about the decay of Cleveland that’s hilarious. And some of the more personal stories of foreclosures and layoffs are effective. On the whole, though, I wasn’t nearly as gripped as I usually am watching Moore.

There’s little else for me to say. You either want to see “Capitalism: A Love Story” or you don’t.

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