Not Feeling the Love in Capitalism: A Love Story

Nora Shychuk

Whether you are a fan of Michael Moore or not, “Capitalism: A Love Story”, aims to inform and provoke some pretty serious thought, which it successfully does. On paper, capitalism has worked for our country since it’s founding. In the first few minutes of the film, capitalism is defined as a “system of free enterprise.”

“Capitalism: A Love Story” focuses on the darker side of the spectrum.

When we think of a system of free enterprise, we tend to think of equal opportunity for us all. It gives us the ability to privately own or sell goods for a profit.  This, of course, leads to competition and the process of “giving and taking”. Mr. Moore takes this one step further, clarifying that it is “mostly taking”.

Throughout the documentary, we see how harsh the “taking” can be. We hear from families about to lose their homes, hundreds of workers losing their jobs without warning and major corporations going out of business.  Seeing this actually happen is scary and is definitely an eye-opening experience.

The film was shown at Ross Theater at Jacksonville University. Senior Ricky Balmir, an exercise science major, said, “It was very enlightening. I realized how ignorant I am. I want to research this more later.”

We see real people with real pain, which is so striking and memorable because of just how raw it is. Condo Vultures, a business highlighted in the documentary, specializes in “doing the clean-up” with foreclosed homes. In other words, they take advantage of families losing their homes, seize it and sell it. That’s capitalism, after all.

The harsh reality is that capitalism drives us to live “well”, no matter the cost. Living in a democracy gives people the right to choose, but this film highlights the greed that comes along with it. We want to self-indulge in our culture, and unfortunately, this society seems to be defined by what we have the power to own.

Chad Cypher, a junior majoring in public relations, agrees that capitalism is dangerous.

When asked if he feels the country needs to break away from capitalism and change its economic policies he said, “It probably needed to change a while back, but is it ever going to? Probably not.”

While this documentary does a great job of highlighting the problems with capitalism, it does not do a very good job of remaining professional. This problem lies mostly with Michael Moore. Moore’s attitude makes this documentary difficult to watch at times, no matter the content.

It is also impossible to ignore the fact that he is a filmmaker, which obviously means he is making a film for a profit about the issues of capitalism. Clearly, in terms of his own work, Mr. Moore doesn’t mind too much about the horrors of capitalism. After all, his film charged for admission into the theater.

The final issue is that Moore tries entirely too hard to be the star of his own documentary, which is supposed to be about normal, everyday people.  Every few minutes he interjects into the main story line with unnecessary comments, mostly second-guessing past presidents of this country.

Documentary filmmakers are supposed to be in the background, letting the issues speak for themselves. Moore struggles with this. He would rather have confrontation than a simple, well-made film, which ends up hurting “Capitalism: A Love Story” too often.

There is no question that this documentary does a fantastic job of bringing a detrimental issue to the forefront. If you want to learn about the threats of capitalism, I would recommend this film…as long as you can stand Moore’s in-your-face and ego-stroking persona and style of movie making.