In Theaters: Capitalism: A Love Story

Movieline Score: 7

[Editor's Note: Please welcome Michelle Orange, a former Movieline guest film critic turned staff critic today. She'll be contributing two in-depth reviews per week.]

No one makes me want to go back to Canada more than Michael Moore. Not even Bush II, frequent subject of Moore's clammy wrath: Where W. had a (crude, acrid) way with doctrine, some profound, core certainty within -- call it my sanity -- wouldn't let me believe, despite all evidence to the contrary, that his brand of horseshit would get over; Moore, meanwhile, crafts his agit-prop with the sort of populist finesse that slides right home.

When Bowling for Columbine came out, for instance, I still lived in Toronto, in the very downtown, Italian neighborhood where Moore went opening people's unlocked doors. Yes, I thought, this is better, this is where I live. Then I moved to New York.

Since then I have watched Fahrenheit 9/11, Sicko, and now Capitalism: A Love Story, in crowded Manhattan theaters, and despite many misgivings about the films themselves, and an acute awareness of Moore's agenda and skill as a propagandist, I'm certain that each time I left the theater with the look of someone who just ate the whole thing: My God, what have I done?

Both the most defeated and the most hopeful of his recent socio-political indictments, Capitalism is a bumpy, involving ride. It finds Flint's lonely, schlubby man trolling the country for a read on the post-meltdown state of the union. After a glib sequence comparing the United States' recent economic crisis to the fall of Rome, Moore, in full knowing, storybook form, narrates footage from a series of home foreclosures in progress. We get very little context about these homeowners, as Moore goes straight for the killer imagery of "working class," "middle class" and "hard-working" people being removed from their homes. It all seems, of course, like madness.

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  • Old No.7 says:

    Does Michael Moore actually realize that the end result of his efforts to bring about a socialistic economy, would be the redistribution of his multi-millions to the people he knowingly used as pawns in his anti-capitalistic propaganda?

  • hollywoodjeffy says:

    Excellent review, thanks. The movie's worth seeing not only for the Reagan footage, but also for an amazing archival clip of FDR announcing his plans for a "second bill of rights", which would have guaranteed Americans certain basic economic protections. This footage was long thought to have been lost, but Moore and his staff unearthed it while doing research for "Capitalism".