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Capitalism: A Love Story

Michael Moore: You either love him or you hate him. Personally, I’m a fan of his, and especially of his Oscar-winning Bowling for Columbine. But Capitalism: A Love Story left me in this weird, unpleasant gray area. I can’t remember the last time I saw a film so poignant, yet so ludicrous at the same time.

Moore’s problem is that he can’t resist being the star of his own movie. Capitalism’s lowest points are undoubtedly when Moore is onscreen. From circling Goldman Sachs Insurance with bright, yellow police tape, to arguing with the building’s security guards when he pathetically attempts to make a citizen’s arrest, Moore’s antics appeal only to the lowest common denominator. I realize that he is trying to make a point while providing entertainment, but his shenanigans only serve to weaken his position.
Moore is at his best when he stays out of the film and just lets the simple tragedy of his subjects make his point.

Evicted families with nowhere to go and bankrupt retirees only scratch the surface of Moore’s look at the capitalist system from a human perspective. When he digs deeper, it is chilling to learn about companies like WalMart taking out life insurance policies, called “dead peasant” clauses, out on its workers in hopes that they will die – proving the average American worker to be worth more dead to a CEO than alive.
That being said, like all of Moore’s films, Capitalism is purely one-sided propaganda. Moore never offers any counterpoints that might undermine his argument, much of which is strung together by a series of assumptions and speculations presented as fact. Ultimately, though, Moore demonstrates why he is a filmmaker and not a politician. His movie is rich with emotional fervor that aims to rile up the public and give power to the proletariat. Unfortunately, considering the state of the American economy, I doubt the majority of the proletariat will even have the funds to pay to see the movie. Now, if Moore distributed his movie under a “pay what you can” philosophy, this review might be a whole other love story.

Grade: B-

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