Capitalism: a Love Story is the latest film made by Michael Moore, released in US theaters in November 2009. 20 years after his first documentary, Roger and Me, Michael Moore gets back in touch with the beloved theme of capitalism. Centering his movie on the issue of the financial crisis the world has been facing for a couple of years and the currenteconomic order of the US, he addresses many questions such as Wall Street’s malfunction, low-level wages, unemployment and the overlap between economical and political interests.
By making a really harsh criticism of capitalism, Michael Moore uses the same techniques as he used in most of his previous documentaries and eventually depicts a scathing report on the subject analyzed. In order tomake an accurate film review of Capitalism: a Love Story, we will first approach the film from a general point of view to understand Moore’s approach of capitalism and US economic order. Then, we will review Moore’s criticism by analyzing his technique in which he draws upon embarrassing examples and accuses people. We will eventually make a critical review of the documentary.
The meaning of thedocumentary’s title is obvious since the very beginning. By using his own image as a little boy, Moore describes us the magnificent but failed romance of the US with the so called system of free markets. When he was little a lot of people got rich, the US built hospitals and schools by hundreds - they even sent a man to the moon – and at the time people had sufficient pensions and healthcare. ForMoore, “it sounded like a good deal”. Then, some people made bad choices (Ronald Reagan is here pointed at), and then inescapably came disastrous consequences. It almost sounds like the synopsis of one of those B-movies Ronald Reagan could have played in. Moore also explores other definitions: one describes capitalism as the system of free market in which profit is the motto. He also quotesGeorge Bush saying that “capitalism is the best system ever devised that offers freedom to choose”. To prove how wrong those definitions are, Moore does not hesitate to list a full catalog of consequences that capitalism has, he believes, ensued. To reinforce the strength of his speech he even uses a religious rhetoric by interviewing priests and bishops and make them acknowledge that capitalism isnothing but “evil”. In fact, from a religious perspective, capitalism seems to be “obscene and wrong”. Because of the fact that it does not provide the well being of everybody, it is highly discrepant with the lessons from the Holy Bible (“blessed are the poor”), so it should be eliminated. As a conclusion, the filmmaker goes a bit further, saying, with the approval of the priest that if so manyAmerican believe that capitalism is compatible with the teaching of the Bible, it is the result of a very effective propaganda. So, in Moore’s mind, capitalism is definitely an immoral, insecure and harmful system that is responsible for the current American economic disorder. He defines it as “the system of taking and giving, mostly taking” and leads his documentary to a foreseeable conclusion: thesystem of capitalism has taken the US away; it is an evil that has to be replaced with something. For Moore, this something is democracy. But are not the US already a democracy?
Michael Moore’s documentaries are famous for highlighting embarrassing examples or for caricaturizing people that can be considered as highly responsible for having done something terrible on purpose, often for money, orreward. It is the case in Capitalism: a Love Story as it was the case in Sicko. It is actually a very effective technique and allows him to get the audience on his side. Here, in talking about about capitalism and its consequences, Moore tells us about a very unpleasant practice, well developed in multinational groups such as Wal Mart, Nestlé, Herschey or AT&T: the practice of “dead peasants”....
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