This weekend I got in another round of seeing two movies. The first one up was Michael Moore‘s latest documentary, Capitalism: A Love Story. I’ve been a fan of Michael’s movies and unlike many of my conservative friends, who go to great lengths to disparage them, I’ve actually seen them.
I must say that I feel this one is one of the weaker entries in his filmography. The concept is so broad and his approach does little to bring focus to it. Instead it ends up as a film that mainly preaches to the choir. He gives us a lot of the same shtick we get in his other films—like approaching security guards and telling them stories that can’t possibly change their job of not allowing him entrance to the building.
Essentially the film fails because it tries to tackle a huge issue in his normal style of giving us little more than weepy anecdotal evidence. We meet some people who are having tough times and this is all the fault of capitalism—so we’re told. Any conservative in the crowd would think, “Get off your ass and do something about your problem.” One example we’re given is that of a 50-ish man being put out of his family farm because of a bad loan he took—an ARM whose rates he couldn’t afford. We’re told he can’t work due to a back injury but he seems perfectly fine carrying around all his belongings as he moves out.
Conservatives will also cringe at the broad strokes Moore takes. Essentially the main antagonist of target is Ronald Reagan. That’s an overstatement of rather large proportion. Yes, Reagan bears some responsibility for our current situation but his actions also are directly responsible for many positive outcomes as well.
Moore’s film touches the fringes of the problem but never with any real dissection. He nearly gets it right during a segment about a juvenile detention center in Pennsylvania but stops at this one example without really driving the point home. As a result the conclusions the movie attempts to sell us come across as rather hollow. Bad things happen to good people. That’s life, not capitalism.
On the plus side the film is well-paced and, at times, rather funny. There’s a great set of laughs surrounding some Jesus-based film footage. Unfortunately this is a situation of growing concern that really deserved a deeper, more balanced analysis and this just isn’t it.