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Life And Debt

Life And Debt (2001)



Average Rating: 7.1/10
Critic Reviews: 13
Fresh: 12 | Rotten: 1

No consensus yet.



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Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 1,920

My Rating

Movie Info

Using Jamaica as its focus, filmmaker Stephanie Black presents an in-depth examination of the impact of the International Monetary Fund's global economic policies on a developing nation's economy. The program represents the views of Jamaican workers and farmers, as well as government officials and policy experts.


Documentary, Special Interest

Jamaica Kincaid

Jun 24, 2003

Tuff Gong Pictures

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All Critics (43) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (38) | Rotten (4) | DVD (4)

Powerfully illustrates what globalization has been doing to underdeveloped countries around the world.

August 20, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This case study of globalization's effects on Jamaica is a timely, never dull piece of agitprop that comes off as a cross between Godard's social protest docs and The Harder They Come.

August 20, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Talking heads are intercut to synthesise theory and practice, but as an economic diatribe this is a bit patronising and not wholly persuasive.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's mostly persuasive in the position it argues.

March 1, 2002 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

... after viewing Life and Debt, the audience's way of seeing things has been quietly and powerfully changed.

February 26, 2002 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The damning commentary and revelations about the perils of globalization, not just for Jamaica but developing countries the world over, do come across loud and clear.

February 8, 2002 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It is an instructive story of exploitation.

August 20, 2007 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Stephanie Black puts into context the differences between the Jamaica seen by tourists and the country inhabited by its oppressed people.

October 5, 2006

As documentaries about economics go, this one is way, way up at the top.

February 25, 2004 Full Review Source:

Its potent message deserves to be heard.

August 6, 2003 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Try to imagine the most boring lecture you've ever sat through, and you might have a vague conception of what it's like watching Life and Debt.

August 1, 2003 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

Here is a documentary that should be mandatory viewing for anyone interested in globalisation that, war or no war, remains one of the most contentious issues of our times.

March 25, 2003 Full Review Source: Guardian

Puts a human face - many human faces - on the debt crisis and the effects of open trade on a Third World country.

March 11, 2003 Full Review Source: Offoffoff

A powerful, intelligently-assembled documentary from American director Stephanie Black, which explores the devastating impact of globalisation upon the Caribbean island of Jamaica.

March 4, 2003 Full Review Source:

As an expose of such international carpetbagging, Life + Debt is brilliant stuff.

February 26, 2003 Full Review Source:

However attractive the axe to grind, the haphazard lacework of narration, filmed television screen, disconnected scenes and endless headshots do not make for cinema, documentary or otherwise.

December 8, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Threat | Comment (1)
Film Threat

A must-see for everyone who wants to understand the human cost of globalization.

October 21, 2002 Full Review Source: San Diego Metropolitan
San Diego Metropolitan

It is provocative and highly resonant, and informative without being dry or terminally academic.

October 10, 2002 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

Fairly harsh, sobering stuff.

July 12, 2002 Full Review Source: Sacramento Bee
Sacramento Bee

I found myself daydreaming, looking at my watch, dozing off.

April 14, 2002

An eye-opener and a primer on why the IMF and the World Bank are not to be trusted by emerging third-world countries.

March 10, 2002 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Black's tactics are heavy-handed, but her ability to efficiently organize the complex material at hand and capture telling imagery makes Life and Debt an equally elegant and vitriolic diatribe.

March 3, 2002 Full Review Source: eye WEEKLY

The details are often jaw-dropping.

March 1, 2002 Full Review Source: Jam! Movies
Jam! Movies

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