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Capitalism: A Love Story (2009)

TOMATOMETER

Average Rating: 6.7/10
Reviews Counted: 178
Fresh: 133
Rotten: 45

Critics Consensus: Love him or hate him, Capitalism captures Michael Moore in his muckraking element -- with all the Moore-centric showmanship that entails.

Average Rating: 6.4/10
Reviews Counted: 42
Fresh: 27
Rotten: 15

Critics Consensus: Love him or hate him, Capitalism captures Michael Moore in his muckraking element -- with all the Moore-centric showmanship that entails.

AUDIENCE SCORE

Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 70,266

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Movie Info

Twenty years after his influential debut, Roger & Me, Michael Moore returns to his roots by pulling back the curtain on capitalism to reveal the insidious role it has played in the destruction of the American dream for many people. Back in 1989, auto workers in Flint, MI, were lamenting layoffs and wondering how they would support their families without jobs to pay the bills, or benefits to ensure their health. Flash forward two decades, when cities all across the country are feeling the same … More

Rating:
R (for some language)
Genre:
Documentary , Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By:
Michael Moore
In Theaters:
On DVD:
Mar 9, 2010
Box Office:
$14.3M
Runtime:
Overture Films - Official Site


Cast



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Critic Reviews for Capitalism: A Love Story

All Critics (180) | Top Critics (42) | Fresh (133) | Rotten (45) | DVD (2)

The thesis that rapacious capitalism has horrific social consequences is credible and well illustrated, if hardly eye-opening to European viewers.

Full Review… | February 26, 2010
Time Out
Top Critic

Moore is always visually playful and subversive, and even when dealing with such serious and depressing topics entertaining; but he's also game enough to examine America's mythology of prosperity.

Full Review… | November 5, 2009
MovieTime, ABC Radio National
Top Critic

Smart-alecky and simplistic? Yeah. And primo Moore.

Full Review… | October 2, 2009
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

As a filmmaker creating a product for a marketplace, supported by profit-seeking investors, he obviously has some comfort level with capitalism in the sense of doing business.

Full Review… | October 2, 2009
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Michael Moore is up to his old tricks in Capitalism: A Love Story, and that's sure to both infuriate, and entertain and inform, depending which side of the Michael Moore fence you stand on.

Full Review… | October 2, 2009
Detroit News
Top Critic

While it's amusing to watch Moore on camera plaster the entrance to the New York Stock Exchange with crime-scene tape, when Moore goes through his customary security-guard harassment in another segment, it's hard not to think: Here we go again.

Full Review… | October 2, 2009
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Moore evokes Pope Benedict XVI "Caritas in Veritate" and stresses the need that Judeo-Christian ethics, upon which his country was founded, must play a part in the recovery and stability of the financial sector.

Full Review… | March 5, 2014
Matt's Movie Reviews

A lot of the old Moore is still obvious in Capitalism, his genuine belief in everyone pulling together his feel for a good public stunt but he's lost a little something. The social zeal of his best work has been replaced with a hint of fanaticism.

Full Review… | March 10, 2011
ComingSoon.net

Docu on corporate misdeeds names names, makes mistakes.

Full Review… | December 18, 2010
Common Sense Media

As with all of Moore's films, this is really about the fall of The American Dream, with Moore acting as our tour guide into the rotten core of his beloved country. And once again, his heart is in the right place. If only he could keep his ego out of it.

Full Review… | October 27, 2010
Quickflix

This isn't just about pointing fingers at those who have gotten us into this mess, but about mobilizing working people to stop waiting for someone else to fix it, to stop sitting idly by while their wages, pensions, health care, and homes are stolen.

Full Review… | July 3, 2010

[Michael Moore] is cheeky, he's outrageous and he can get awfully full of himself... but he does have a way of getting your blood up...

Full Review… | March 25, 2010
Seanax.com

The constant quotations from the Founding Fathers suggest his real concern is a somewhat nebulous betrayal of the American Dream.

Full Review… | March 15, 2010
Observer [UK]

Moore continues his career as provocateur with this often eloquent, occasionally muddled, bill of particulars which indicts Wall Street's ethos of greed. As with most of Moore's documentaries, the film is strongest when he's behind the camera, rather than

Full Review… | March 13, 2010
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

While Moore still stacks the deck, there are enough scenes portraying callously inhuman policies, such as the death peasant insurance, to pacify the viewer for two overlong hours.

Full Review… | March 11, 2010
Examiner.com

A barbed study of the American economy puts capitalism in the dock but somehow fails to convict.

Full Review… | February 26, 2010
Empire Magazine

Republicans have long used these methods to influence the public with great success - all Moore does is play them at their own highly effective game.

Full Review… | February 26, 2010
Film4

For all his cheap tactics, Moore mounts a persuasive case that something is rotten in the current economic system.

Full Review… | February 26, 2010
Times [UK]

Michael Moore has succeeded in getting a film on this subject actually released in cinemas: a very sharp and entertaining one at that.

Full Review… | February 26, 2010
Guardian

Funny, angry and deadly accurate.

Full Review… | February 26, 2010
Daily Telegraph

The most interesting aspect of Capitalism is a strain of melancholic nostalgia that runs through its latter segments

February 26, 2010
Little White Lies

Still fighting the good fight for the working man, Capitalism is entertaining but conspicuously bankrupt of fresh ideas and insights. By now, Moore is starting to feel like less.

Full Review… | February 26, 2010
Total Film

Moore comes up with enough of these startling moments to keep us watching, though he's certainly stronger on huff and puff than concrete solutions.

Full Review… | February 26, 2010
Radio Times

A troubling portrait of a country shaken by repossessions, exploitation and the rich sucking the life out of the poor.

Full Review… | February 26, 2010
Daily Mirror [UK]

The film is good fun. Perhaps we have seen it all before, but you could say that of a sunrise. Every sunrise is different and Moore's are usually worth getting out of bed for.

Full Review… | February 26, 2010
Financial Times

Audience Reviews for Capitalism: A Love Story

½

Michael Moore once again takes on the capitalist establishment and describes how a system that once worked for all was perverted and resulted in the dumbfounding bank bail out scandal of recent years. Personally I think that the citizens of the U.S. in particular need to stop thinking of "socialism" as a dirty word; they have basically been brainwashed by their fat cat overlords into thinking that socialism is the same thing as "totalitarian communism" which is utterly absurd. Watching ordinary working class Joes describing Obama as a "socialist" as if a vote for him was like voting for Chairman Mao is frankly astonishing to anyone outside the American borders. Socialism is a system that works perfectly well within a capitalist framework and is basically just a set of rules organised around social justice and a fairer, more equitable distribution of wealth thus regulating the rich and powerful, preventing them from the wholesale exploitation of the lower classes (ie. the 95% of the rest us!). The current financial climate is frankly unsustainable and its logical conclusion would be the population of the Earth becoming the 1% of billionaires sitting in a nice eco-bubble of their own construction while the rest of the planet and its population rots away to apocalyptic oblivion like a old episode of Star Trek. It's about time the working and middle classes took the power back and realised that a vote for the corporate puppets that are the right wing conservative parties is like volunteering for slavery. Rant over!

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garyX
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

½

A shocking and interesting film by Michael Moore, other terrific vision about a USA problem. Fresh.

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Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

I love these type of documentaries. It investigates the cause of the economic crisis in US and how taxpayers have had to bail out the rich corporates. Most shocking news - corporates like Wal-Mart, Bank of America, Proctor and Gamble benefit from the death of employees because of policies they have taken out in them.

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thmtsang
Candy Rose

Super Reviewer

½

"This is capitalism. A system of taking and giving... mostly taking."

This is one smart real film. This is a scary world we live in, we are ruled by an American government that can't really be trusted, but is this new? Heck no! Still the information seeing in this film is vital and important for everyone.

* "I sincerely believe... that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies." - Thomas Jefferson, 1816

* A home is foreclosed in America every 7 1/2 seconds.

* Please give generously to "Pennies for Pilots." Just look for the donation canisters next time you fly.

* "Property monopolized or in the possession of a few is a curse to mankind." - John Adams, 1765

* Wal-Mart no longer takes out dead peasant policies on their employees. But they still call them "associates".

* Eight months after taking back their own home, the bank gave up trying to evict the Trody family of Miami. They are still in their home.

* The foreclosure company has moved out of Flint, leaving only a PO Box and more unemployed workers behind.

* "No man ought to own more property than needed for his livelihood; the rest, by right, belonged to the state." - Benjamin Franklin

* "It's class warfare, my class is winning, but they shouldn't be." - Warren Buffett, World's Richest Person 2007


The film alternates between a fierce critique of the status quo, personal portraits of the suffering caused by the recent economic crisis, and comical social satire. The film begins a series of security footages of bank robberies (one of the robbers was even on a crutch) accompanied by the song "Louie, Louie". Moore then uses an Encyclopædia Britannica archive video to compare the modern-day America with the Roman Empire. The film then depicts home videos of families being evicted from their homes, as well as the "Condo Vultures", a Florida real estate agent whose business flourished with the increasing number of foreclosures.

The film then cuts back to the past "golden days" of American capitalism following World War II, and a speech by President Jimmy Carter warning Americans of the dangers of "self-indulgence and consumption". In the following Reagan years where the policies of Don Regan "turned the bull loose" for free enterprises, corporations gained more political power, unions were weakened, and socioeconomic gaps were widened. The film then cuts to the Luzerne County court scandal, Captain Sullenberger's congressional testimony regarding airline pilots' poor treatment, and the expose of "dead peasant insurance" policies that have companies profiting from the deaths of their employees. Moore then interviews several Catholic priests, including Bishop Thomas Gumbleton (Archdiocese of Detroit), all of whom consider capitalism contrary to the teachings of Christianity. The film then presents a mockery of what would happen if Jesus was a capitalist who wanted to "maximize profits", to "deregulate the banking industry" and wanted the sick to "pay out of pocket" for their "pre-existing condition", in contrast with several news pundits who proclaim the success of various capitalist enterprises as being a "blessing from God."

The film then features a leaked internal Citigroup memo happily declaring the United States a "plutonomy" (a society "where economic growth is powered by and largely consumed by the wealthy few"), with the top 1% of the population controlling more financial wealth than the bottom 95% combined. The same report also raises the concern of "societies demanding a more 'equitable' share of wealth". Moore then interviews Wall Street Journal columnist Stephen Moore (no relation), who believes "capitalism is a lot more important than democracy". The film then cuts to codetermination worker cooperatives like Wisconsin's Isthmus Engineering and California's Alvarado Street Bakery, which are owned and run democratically by their employees, as alternative models to the current capitalist system.

After referring to Dr. Jonas Salk, who selflessly gave away the patent of the polio vaccine for the public good ("Would you patent the sun?"), Moore wonders about how the brightest of America's young generation are attracted into finance instead of science. Moore then goes to Wall Street seeking technical explanation about derivatives and credit default swaps, only to be advised "don't make any more movies". Eventually Marcus Haupt, a former VP of Lehman Brothers, agrees to help but fails at clearly explaining these terms. Harvard professor Kenneth Rogoff similarly fails ("Sorry... I apologize... These are pretty exotic"). Moore eventually concludes that the complex system and terminology are merely there to confuse and "get away with murder", and Wall Street is just "an insane casino".

Moore then explores the role of Alan Greenspan and the U.S. Treasury in leading up to the United States housing bubble that devastated the American middle class. Moore also interviews a former employee at Countrywide Financial responsible for their VIP program for "FOAs" and details how many members of Congress and political figures received favorable mortgage rates under the program. Moore then discusses with William Black, who analogizes the situation to the build-up of the collapse of a dam. The film then shows the series of events leading up to the passing of 2008 bailout proposed by Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson (also the former CEO of Goldman Sachs). Moore then speaks with several Members of Congress, with Ohio congresswoman Marcy Kaptur supporting Moore's comment that the passing of the bailout is a "financial coup d'état".

Moore interviews Elizabeth Warren, the head of the US Congressional Oversight Committee, the government agency serving as a watchdog for Congress' wrong-doing and investigating Congressional "oversights" (mistakes). He asks her, "Where's our money?", referring to the $700 billion bailout money which Congress gave to the big banks and Wall Street investment companies. There is a dramatic pause and Warren replies, "I don't know." Advised by Warren to contact Paulson's office for answer, Moore's call is promptly disconnected upon recognition of his identity. He then goes to Wall Street demanding to "get the money back for the American people", but is denied entry into every office building of the major banks.

The film then shows the events leading up to the 2008 U.S. election, where branding of capitalism and socialism occurs as part of the scare campaign, and Moore expresses hope that the election of Barack Obama might turn things into the right track. The film then contrasts the present economic reality in America with the policy of US president Franklin D. Roosevelt, who supported the Flint Sit-Down Strike in 1936. Moore also includes a long-lost archival footage of FDR calling for a Second Bill of Rights that would guarantee all Americans "a useful job, a decent home, adequate health care, and a good education."

Moore discusses his own spiritual beliefs as a Catholic, and questions whether Jesus would belong to a hedge fund or sell short. His conclusion, which he elaborated on in more detail after the film's release, is that "you can't call yourself a capitalist and a Christian, because you cannot love your money and love your neighbor."

The documentary features a number of positive portrayals, which include bailout watchdog Elizabeth Warren, Wayne County Sheriff Warren Evans, who put forth a moratorium on home evictions, and Ohio Representative Marcy Kaptur, who on the floor of the US Congress encouraged Americans to be "squatters" in their own homes, and refuse to vacate.

The film closes with Moore placing police lines around numerous banks, and lastly, Wall Street itself. Moore's closing remarks are the following: capitalism is an evil which can only be eliminated, in its place, a better system is that of democracy - rule by the people, not by money, and asks all those who support his beliefs to "speed it up", mimicking the famous phrase said by Don Regan to Ronald Reagan during one of the latter's speeches.

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MANUGINO
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

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