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Capitalism: A Love Story

Capitalism: A Love Story

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Capitalism: A Love Story is a 2009 American documentary film
Documentary film
Documentary films constitute a broad category of nonfictional motion pictures intended to document some aspect of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction or maintaining a historical record...

 directed, written by and starring Michael Moore
Michael Moore
Michael Francis Moore is an American filmmaker, author, social critic and activist. He is the director and producer of Fahrenheit 9/11, which is the highest-grossing documentary of all time. His films Bowling for Columbine and Sicko also place in the top ten highest-grossing documentaries...

. The film centers on the late-2000s financial crisis
Late-2000s financial crisis
The late-2000s financial crisis is considered by many economists to be the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s...

 and the recovery stimulus
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, abbreviated ARRA and commonly referred to as the Stimulus or The Recovery Act, is an economic stimulus package enacted by the 111th United States Congress in February 2009 and signed into law on February 17, 2009, by President Barack Obama.To...

, while putting forward an indictment of the current economic order in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and capitalism
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

 in general. Topics covered include Wall Street
Wall Street
Wall Street refers to the financial district of New York City, named after and centered on the eight-block-long street running from Broadway to South Street on the East River in Lower Manhattan. Over time, the term has become a metonym for the financial markets of the United States as a whole, or...

's "casino mentality", for-profit prisons, Goldman Sachs
Goldman Sachs
The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is an American multinational bulge bracket investment banking and securities firm that engages in global investment banking, securities, investment management, and other financial services primarily with institutional clients...

' influence in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, the poverty
Poverty
Poverty is the lack of a certain amount of material possessions or money. Absolute poverty or destitution is inability to afford basic human needs, which commonly includes clean and fresh water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter. About 1.7 billion people are estimated to live...

-level wages of many workers, the large wave of home foreclosures
Foreclosure
Foreclosure is the legal process by which a mortgage lender , or other lien holder, obtains a termination of a mortgage borrower 's equitable right of redemption, either by court order or by operation of law...

, corporate-owned life insurance
Corporate-owned life insurance
Corporate-owned life insurance , also known as dead peasant life insurance or janitors insurance, is life insurance on employees' lives that is owned by the employer, with benefits payable to the employer...

, and the consequences of "runaway greed". The film also features a religious component where Moore examines whether or not capitalism is a sin
Sin
In religion, sin is the violation or deviation of an eternal divine law or standard. The term sin may also refer to the state of having committed such a violation. Christians believe the moral code of conduct is decreed by God In religion, sin (also called peccancy) is the violation or deviation...

 and if Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 would be a capitalist.

The film was widely released to the public in the United States and Canada on October 2, 2009. Reviews were generally positive. It was released on DVD and Blu-ray on March 9, 2010.

Synopsis


The film begins with a series of security footage
Closed-circuit television
Closed-circuit television is the use of video cameras to transmit a signal to a specific place, on a limited set of monitors....

 of armed bank robberies (one of the robbers was even on a crutch) accompanied by the song Louie, Louie. Moore then uses an Encyclopædia Britannica
Encyclopædia Britannica
The Encyclopædia Britannica , published by Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., is a general knowledge English-language encyclopaedia that is available in print, as a DVD, and on the Internet. It is written and continuously updated by about 100 full-time editors and more than 4,000 expert...

 archive video to compare modern-day America with the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

. The film then depicts home videos of families being evicted from their homes, as well as the "Condo Vultures," a Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

 real estate agency 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, followed by a "bummer" speech by President Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

 warning Americans of the dangers of worshiping "self-indulgence and consumption". In the following Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 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. Moore suggests that Reagan was favored for his charisma and communication skills rather than effective leadership, and highlights one of Reagan's speeches in which Regan, somewhat indiscreetly, orders Reagan to "speed it up". The film then cuts to the kids for cash scandal
Kids for cash scandal
The "Kids for cash" scandal unfolded in 2008 over judicial kickbacks at the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Two judges, President Judge Mark Ciavarella and Senior Judge Michael Conahan, were accused of accepting money from the co-owner and builder of two private,...

, Captain Chesley Sullenberger
Chesley Sullenberger
Chesley Burnett "Sully" Sullenberger III is an American airline transport pilot , safety expert, and accident investigator from Danville, California...

's congressional testimony regarding airline pilots' poor treatment, and the exposé of "dead peasant insurance" policies that have companies such as Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. , branded as Walmart since 2008 and Wal-Mart before then, is an American public multinational corporation that runs chains of large discount department stores and warehouse stores. The company is the world's 18th largest public corporation, according to the Forbes Global 2000...

 profiting from the deaths of their employees instead of the employees' families. Moore then interviews several Catholic
Catholic
The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...

 priests, including Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
Thomas Gumbleton
Thomas John Gumbleton is a retired Roman Catholic auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit.-Education and career:...

 (Archdiocese of Detroit), all of whom consider capitalism a "radical evil" contrary to the teachings of Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

. The film then presents a parody of what would happen if Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 was a capitalist who wanted to "maximize profits," "deregulate the banking industry," and wanted the sick to "pay out of pocket" for their "pre-existing condition" (via clips taken from Jesus of Nazareth), in contrast with several news pundits who proclaim the success of various capitalist enterprises as being a "blessing from God."

After referring to Dr. Jonas Salk
Jonas Salk
Jonas Edward Salk was an American medical researcher and virologist, best known for his discovery and development of the first safe and effective polio vaccine. He was born in New York City to parents from Ashkenazi Jewish Russian immigrant families...

, who for the public good, selflessly refused to patent
Patent
A patent is a form of intellectual property. It consists of a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for the public disclosure of an invention....

 the polio vaccine
Polio vaccine
Two polio vaccines are used throughout the world to combat poliomyelitis . The first was developed by Jonas Salk and first tested in 1952. Announced to the world by Salk on April 12, 1955, it consists of an injected dose of inactivated poliovirus. An oral vaccine was developed by Albert Sabin...

 (asking, "Could 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
Wall Street
Wall Street refers to the financial district of New York City, named after and centered on the eight-block-long street running from Broadway to South Street on the East River in Lower Manhattan. Over time, the term has become a metonym for the financial markets of the United States as a whole, or...

 seeking technical explanation about derivative
Derivative (finance)
A derivative instrument is a contract between two parties that specifies conditions—in particular, dates and the resulting values of the underlying variables—under which payments, or payoffs, are to be made between the parties.Under U.S...

s and credit default swap
Credit default swap
A credit default swap is similar to a traditional insurance policy, in as much as it obliges the seller of the CDS to compensate the buyer in the event of loan default...

s, only to be advised "don't make any more movies". Eventually Marcus Haupt, a former VP of Lehman Brothers
Lehman Brothers
Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. was a global financial services firm. Before declaring bankruptcy in 2008, Lehman was the fourth largest investment bank in the USA , doing business in investment banking, equity and fixed-income sales and trading Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. (former NYSE ticker...

, agrees to help but fails at clearly explaining these terms. Harvard professor Kenneth Rogoff
Kenneth Rogoff
Kenneth Saul "Ken" Rogoff is currently the Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Economics at Harvard University. He is also a chess Grandmaster.-Early life:...

 similarly fails. 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
Alan Greenspan
Alan Greenspan is an American economist who served as Chairman of the Federal Reserve of the United States from 1987 to 2006. He currently works as a private advisor and provides consulting for firms through his company, Greenspan Associates LLC...

 and the U.S. Treasury in leading up to the United States housing bubble
United States housing bubble
The United States housing bubble is an economic bubble affecting many parts of the United States housing market in over half of American states. Housing prices peaked in early 2006, started to decline in 2006 and 2007, and may not yet have hit bottom as of 2011. On December 30, 2008 the...

 that devastated the American middle class
American middle class
The American middle class is a social class in the United States. While the concept is typically ambiguous in popular opinion and common language use, contemporary social scientists have put forward several, more or less congruent, theories on the American middle class...

. Moore also interviews a former employee at Countrywide Financial
Countrywide Financial
Bank of America Home Loans is the mortgage unit of Bank of America. Bank of America Home Loans is composed of:*Mortgage Banking, which originates purchases, securitizes, and services mortgages. In 2008, Bank of America purchased the failing Countrywide Financial for $4.1 billion...

 responsible for their VIP program for "FOAs" and details how many members of Congress and political figures received favorable mortgage rates
Countrywide financial political loan scandal
The U.S. financial political loan scandal in 2008-2009 involved politicians who allegedly received favorable mortgage rates.In June 2008 Conde Nast Portfolio reported that numerous Washington, DC politicians over recent years had received mortgage financing at noncompetitive rates at Countrywide...

 under the program. Moore then discusses with William Black
William K. Black
William Kurt Black is an American lawyer, academic, author, and a former bank regulator. Black's expertise is in white-collar crime, public finance, regulation, and other topics in law and economics...

, 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 the 2008 bailout proposed by Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson (also the former CEO of Goldman Sachs
Goldman Sachs
The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is an American multinational bulge bracket investment banking and securities firm that engages in global investment banking, securities, investment management, and other financial services primarily with institutional clients...

). Moore then speaks with several Members of Congress, including Ohio congresswoman Marcy Kaptur
Marcy Kaptur
Marcia Carolyn "Marcy" Kaptur is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1983. She is a member of the Democratic Party. The district, anchored by the city of Toledo, includes all of Ottawa and Erie counties, and part of Lucas and Lorain counties.Serving her fourteenth term in the House of...

, who agrees with Moore's comment that the passing of the bailout was a "financial coup d'état
Coup d'état
A coup d'état state, literally: strike/blow of state)—also known as a coup, putsch, and overthrow—is the sudden, extrajudicial deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to replace the deposed government with another body; either...

".

Moore interviews Elizabeth Warren
Elizabeth Warren
Elizabeth Warren is an American bankruptcy expert, policy advocate, Harvard Law School professor, and Democratic Party candidate in the 2012 United States Senate election in Massachusetts. She has written several academic and popular books concerning the American economy and personal finance. She...

, the head of the US Congressional Oversight Committee, the government agency serving as a watchdog
Watchdog journalism
Watchdog journalism aims to hold accountable public personalities and institutions, whose functions impact social and political life. The term "lapdog journalism", for journalism biased in favour of personalities and institutions, is sometimes used as a conceptual opposite to watchdog...

 for Congress' wrong-doing. 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. Warren replies, "I don't know." Advised by Warren to contact Paulson's office for answers, 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 documentary features a number of positive portrayals, which include bailout watchdog Elizabeth Warren
Elizabeth Warren
Elizabeth Warren is an American bankruptcy expert, policy advocate, Harvard Law School professor, and Democratic Party candidate in the 2012 United States Senate election in Massachusetts. She has written several academic and popular books concerning the American economy and personal finance. She...

, Wayne County
Wayne County, Michigan
-History:Wayne County was one of the first counties formed when the Northwest Territory was organized. It was named for the American general "Mad Anthony" Wayne. It originally encompassed the entire area of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, as well as small sections that are now part of northern...

 Sheriff Warren Evans, who put forth a moratorium on home evictions, and Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

 Representative Marcy Kaptur
Marcy Kaptur
Marcia Carolyn "Marcy" Kaptur is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1983. She is a member of the Democratic Party. The district, anchored by the city of Toledo, includes all of Ottawa and Erie counties, and part of Lucas and Lorain counties.Serving her fourteenth term in the House of...

, who on the floor of the US Congress encouraged Americans to be "squatters" in their own homes, and refuse to vacate. The film also states that President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

's campaign caused only 37 percent of young adults to favor capitalism over socialism (although this was later proven to be inaccurate). Moore gives particular focus on a Hispanic family who were cheated out of their house by the bank and were living in a mobile home for a while but then moved back into their house with support from their neighbours. The bank responded by sending a representative and the police (notably, a total of nine police cars) to intervene, but the family and neighbourhood stood their ground, winning over the representative (who himself was a fellow Hispanic) and sending the police away. The film next documents the mass layoff
Layoff
Layoff , also called redundancy in the UK, is the temporary suspension or permanent termination of employment of an employee or a group of employees for business reasons, such as when certain positions are no longer necessary or when a business slow-down occurs...

 and subsequent sitdown strike of some 200 Republic Windows and Doors
Republic Windows and Doors
Republic Windows and Doors was a Chicago, Illinois-based producer of vinyl replacement windows. The company was founded in 1965 by William Spielman. The company was declared bankrupt on December 2, 2008...

 employees, concluding in the success of these strikers.

The film then shows that in the year following Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

's death and the Allied victory in World War II, many of the defeated nations were given the rights proposed by FDR, but Americans were not. The film then jumps ahead 60 years to show the devastation of Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was a powerful Atlantic hurricane. It is the costliest natural disaster, as well as one of the five deadliest hurricanes, in the history of the United States. Among recorded Atlantic hurricanes, it was the sixth strongest overall...

, which Moore suggests would have been less severe were it not for the economic system which made Wall Street rich while forcing residents of New Orleans to live in a poorly-maintained neighborhood.

The film closes with Moore placing police lines around numerous banks, and lastly, Wall Street itself. In his closing speech, Moore declares that capitalism is an evil which can only be eliminated and replaced with the goodness of democracy - rule by the people, not by money. He asks all those who agree to "speed it up", mimicking the aforementioned phrase said by Don Regan to Ronald Reagan during one of the latter's speeches.

A swing rendition of the Socialist anthem "The Internationale
The Internationale
The Internationale is a famous socialist, communist, social-democratic and anarchist anthem.The Internationale became the anthem of international socialism, and gained particular fame under the Soviet Union from 1922 to 1944, when it was that communist state's de facto central anthem...

," sung by Tony Babino, a New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 big band
Big band
A big band is a type of musical ensemble associated with jazz and the Swing Era typically consisting of rhythm, brass, and woodwind instruments totaling approximately twelve to twenty-five musicians...

 artist, plays over the closing credits.

Production


During the Cannes Film Festival
Cannes Film Festival
The Cannes International Film Festival , is an annual film festival held in Cannes, France, which previews new films of all genres including documentaries from around the world. Founded in 1946, it is among the world's most prestigious and publicized film festivals...

 in 2008, Overture Films
Overture Films
Overture Films, LLC is an American film production and distribution company. It is a subsidiary of Liberty Media ....

 and Paramount Vantage
Paramount Vantage
Paramount Vantage is the specialty film division of Paramount Pictures , charged with producing, purchasing, distributing and marketing films, generally those with a more "art house" feel than films made and distributed by its parent company.Paramount Classics was launched in 1998 and...

 announced an upcoming project by director Michael Moore
Michael Moore
Michael Francis Moore is an American filmmaker, author, social critic and activist. He is the director and producer of Fahrenheit 9/11, which is the highest-grossing documentary of all time. His films Bowling for Columbine and Sicko also place in the top ten highest-grossing documentaries...

, though at the time they were vague about the project's theme. Originally thought to be a follow-up to the 2004 film Fahrenheit 9/11
Fahrenheit 9/11
Fahrenheit 9/11 is a 2004 documentary film by American filmmaker and political commentator Michael Moore. The film takes a critical look at the presidency of George W. Bush, the War on Terror, and its coverage in the news media...

, it was revealed that Moore's film was to be a documentary about the financial crisis of 2007–2010. In February 2009, he issued an appeal to people who worked for Wall Street
Wall Street
Wall Street refers to the financial district of New York City, named after and centered on the eight-block-long street running from Broadway to South Street on the East River in Lower Manhattan. Over time, the term has become a metonym for the financial markets of the United States as a whole, or...

 or in the financial industry
Financial services
Financial services refer to services provided by the finance industry. The finance industry encompasses a broad range of organizations that deal with the management of money. Among these organizations are credit unions, banks, credit card companies, insurance companies, consumer finance companies,...

 to share firsthand information, requesting, "Be a hero and help me expose the biggest swindle in American history."

Theatrical run


Capitalism: A Love Story premiered at the 66th Venice International Film Festival
66th Venice International Film Festival
The 66th annual Venice Film Festival held in Venice, Italy, was opened on September 2, 2009 by Baarìa - La porta del vento. International competition jury, led by Ang Lee, awarded Leone d'Oro to Lebanon...

 on September 6, 2009. The film also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival
Toronto International Film Festival
The Toronto International Film Festival is a publicly-attended film festival held each September in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In 2010, 339 films from 59 countries were screened at 32 screens in downtown Toronto venues...

 on September 13 and at the New York Film Festival
New York Film Festival
The New York Film Festival has been a major film festival since it began in 1963 in New York. The films are selected by the Film Society of Lincoln Center...

 on September 21. On September 23, the film had a limited release at two theaters in New York City and two theaters in Los Angeles, grossing $37,832 in its first day for a $9,458 per theater average. The theater average was considered strong, though it did not beat the record opening of Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11
Fahrenheit 9/11
Fahrenheit 9/11 is a 2004 documentary film by American filmmaker and political commentator Michael Moore. The film takes a critical look at the presidency of George W. Bush, the War on Terror, and its coverage in the news media...

, which grossed $83,922 at two theaters in one day. Over the weekend of September 25, Capitalism grossed $231,964 in the four theaters. The film had a wide release in 995 theaters in the United States and Canada on October 2, 2009, about a year after the enacting of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008
Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008
The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (Division A of , commonly referred to as a bailout of the U.S. financial system, is a law enacted in response to the subprime mortgage crisis...

, which approved a $700 billion bailout of Wall Street. The film opened in eighth place at the box office on the first weekend of its wide release, grossing $4,447,378. The final domestic total was $14,363,397, making it the 9th highest grossing documentary in history.

Critical reception


The review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes is a website devoted to reviews, information, and news of films—widely known as a film review aggregator. Its name derives from the cliché of audiences throwing tomatoes and other vegetables at a poor stage performance...

 reported that 75% out of 141 critics gave the film a positive review, with an average
Weighted mean
The weighted mean is similar to an arithmetic mean , where instead of each of the data points contributing equally to the final average, some data points contribute more than others...

 score of 6.7 out of 10. Similar website Metacritic
Metacritic
Metacritic.com is a website that collates reviews of music albums, games, movies, TV shows and DVDs. For each product, a numerical score from each review is obtained and the total is averaged. An excerpt of each review is provided along with a hyperlink to the source. Three colour codes of Green,...

, which assigns a normalized
Standard score
In statistics, a standard score indicates how many standard deviations an observation or datum is above or below the mean. It is a dimensionless quantity derived by subtracting the population mean from an individual raw score and then dividing the difference by the population standard deviation...

 rating out of 100 to mainstream critics' reviews, reported that the film has received an average score of 61 based on 35 reviews.

Deborah Young, writing for the trade paper The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter
Formerly a daily trade magazine, The Hollywood Reporter re-launched in late 2010 as a unique hybrid publication serving the entertainment industry and a consumer audience...

, wrote of Capitalism: A Love Story, "Although it's less focused than Sicko
Sicko
Sicko is a 2007 documentary film by American filmmaker Michael Moore. The film investigates health care in the United States, focusing on its health insurance and the pharmaceutical industry. The movie compares the for-profit, non-universal U.S...

or Fahrenheit 9/11
Fahrenheit 9/11
Fahrenheit 9/11 is a 2004 documentary film by American filmmaker and political commentator Michael Moore. The film takes a critical look at the presidency of George W. Bush, the War on Terror, and its coverage in the news media...

... because its subject is more abstract, this is a typical Moore oeuvre: funny, often over the top and of dubious documentation, but with strongly made points that leave viewers much to ponder and debate after they walk out of the theater." Young acknowledged Moore's simplification of the topic and added, "But here his talent is evident in creating two hours of engrossing cinema by contrasting a fast-moving montage of '50s archive images extolling free enterprise with the economic disaster of the present." The critic noted whom the documentary targeted: "Though it blames all political parties, including the Democrats, for caving in with the bailout, the film is careful to spare President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

, who remains a symbol of hope for justice."

Leslie Felperin of the trade paper Variety
Variety (magazine)
Variety is an American weekly entertainment-trade magazine founded in New York City, New York, in 1905 by Sime Silverman. With the rise of the importance of the motion-picture industry, Daily Variety, a daily edition based in Los Angeles, California, was founded by Silverman in 1933. In 1998, the...

wrote, "Pic's target is less capitalism qua capitalism than the banking industry, which Moore skewers ruthlessly, explaining last year's economic meltdown in terms a sixth-grader could understand. That said, there's still plenty here to annoy right-wingers, as well as those who, however much they agree with Moore's politics, just can't stomach his oversimplification, on-the-nose sentimentality and goofball japery." Felperin said that the documentary was similarly structured to Moore's previous documentaries, "Capitalism skips around considerably, laying down a mix of reportage, interviews and polemic
Polemic
A polemic is a variety of arguments or controversies made against one opinion, doctrine, or person. Other variations of argument are debate and discussion...

." Felperin observed Moore's prominent role in his own documentary, believing it to be justified with relevance to crises in the automobile industry that Moore's family personally encountered. The critic complained that Moore strove "to manipulate viewers' emotions with shots of crying children and tearjerking musical choices", believing that the documentary worked better when the director let the topic unfold through various accounts.

Upon the film's February 2010 UK release, The Times
The Times
The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

said the film "showcases Moore at his undeniably powerful best and his exploitative, manipulative worst":
The film is brilliantly researched, both with regard to the labyrinthine web of connections between the world of finance and the corridors of power and the wittily used archive footage. Interviews with Senate insiders and financial experts are informative, and there’s an amusing sequence in which he quizzes a selection of priests and bishops who opine that capitalism is “evil” and was not, in fact, the preferred economic model of Our Lord. Then Moore goes and spoils it all by hauling out his trusty bullhorn for a series of lame stunts. Like the complacent clown prince of agitprop, Moore hectors Wall Street doormen and security guards, while the company bosses remain in their fortress made of money, blissfully unaware of the fat man making a scene on the street far below....But for all his cheap tactics, Moore mounts a persuasive case that something is rotten in the current economic system.

Topical accuracy


The Associated Press
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

's national business columnist Rachel Beck reviewed the accuracy of three points made in Capitalism:
  1. Three months after a scene in which Moore approaches Goldman Sachs
    Goldman Sachs
    The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is an American multinational bulge bracket investment banking and securities firm that engages in global investment banking, securities, investment management, and other financial services primarily with institutional clients...

     headquarters to reclaim taxpayers' funds, the bank was one of the ten that repaid part of the $68 billion received from the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Moore responded to the action: "We're not talking about the majority of people who took the money ... not even 10 percent of the $700 billion has been returned."
  2. Moore criticizes Wal-Mart
    Wal-Mart
    Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. , branded as Walmart since 2008 and Wal-Mart before then, is an American public multinational corporation that runs chains of large discount department stores and warehouse stores. The company is the world's 18th largest public corporation, according to the Forbes Global 2000...

     for "dead peasant" policies, all 350,000 of which were cancelled in 2000. However, Moore notes that the termination of the policies was covered in the presentation of facts and quotes in the closing credits.
  3. The documentary criticizes Senator Christopher Dodd
    Christopher Dodd
    Christopher John "Chris" Dodd is an American lawyer, lobbyist, and Democratic Party politician who served as a United States Senator from Connecticut for a thirty-year period ending with the 111th United States Congress....

     and other government officials for benefiting from exclusive financial programs; Moore lambasts Dodd in particular for predatory lending
    Predatory lending
    Predatory lending describes unfair, deceptive, or fraudulent practices of some lenders during the loan origination process. While there are no legal definitions in the United States for predatory lending, an audit report on predatory lending from the office of inspector general of the FDIC broadly...

     as chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. The AP reported that the interest rates and fees involved were norms for the industry, and that the Senate's Select Committee on Ethics
    United States Senate Select Committee on Ethics
    The U.S. Senate Select Committee on Ethics is a select committee of the United States Senate charged with dealing with matters related to senatorial ethics. It is also commonly referred to as the Senate Ethics Committee...

     cleared Dodd and Kent Conrad
    Kent Conrad
    Kent Conrad is the senior United States Senator from North Dakota. He is a member of the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party, the North Dakota affiliate of the Democratic Party...

     of getting special treatments, though it cautioned the senators to exercise "more vigilance" with such deals.


The Association of Advanced Life Underwriting issued a statement that Moore "mischaracterized" corporate owned life insurance, stating that the issues were addressed by Congress in the 1990s and again in 2006. The AALU further states that corporate-owned life insurance
Corporate-owned life insurance
Corporate-owned life insurance , also known as dead peasant life insurance or janitors insurance, is life insurance on employees' lives that is owned by the employer, with benefits payable to the employer...

 (COLI) is only taken out on highly compensated employees, and only with their knowledge and consent, that COLI finances employee benefits and protects jobs and that employees pay nothing for COLI, but receive substantial benefits.

Upon the film's February 2010 theatrical release in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, film critic Mark Kermode
Mark Kermode
Mark Kermode is an English film critic, musician and a member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. He contributes to Sight and Sound magazine, The Observer newspaper and BBC Radio 5 Live, where he presents Kermode and Mayo's Film Reviews with Simon Mayo on Friday afternoons...

, appearing on The Culture Show
The Culture Show
The Culture Show is a weekly BBC Two Arts magazine programme. It is broadcast in the UK on Thursday nights at 7pm, focusing on the best of the week's arts and culture news, covering books, art, film, architecture, music, visual fashion and the performing arts...

, asked the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

's business editor Robert Peston
Robert Peston
Robert Peston is a British journalist. Since February 2006, he has been the Business Editor for BBC News. He became known to a wider public with his reporting of the late-2000s financial crisis, especially with his scoop on the Northern Rock crisis.-Early life and education:Peston is the son of...

 whether Moore's "crusading" had been based on a misrepresentation of American capitalism. Canada's Centre for Research on Globalisation characterized the response: "Peston cannot fault the facts of the movie, though he appears a little uncomfortable having to say so."

Religious subject matter


Religion expert Anthony Stevens-Arroyo
Anthony Stevens-Arroyo
Anthony Stevens-Arroyo is an American scholar, academic and Roman Catholic apologist, who publishes the . He has been professor of Puerto Rican and Latino studies at Brooklyn College for many years....

 stated that the film should be considered "a special kind of Catholic achievement" and asked whether Michael Moore should be named "Catholic of the Year" for raising the serious issues in the context of Catholic teachings, and for presenting "Catholic currents of social justice" in the film.

Awards and honors


At the Venice Film Festival
Venice Film Festival
The Venice International Film Festival is the oldest international film festival in the world. Founded by Count Giuseppe Volpi in 1932 as the "Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica", the festival has since taken place every year in late August or early September on the island of the...

, Moore won the "Leoncino d'Oro" ("Little Golden Lion") award for his documentary, and he also received the festival's Open Prize. The documentary was also nominated for the festival's Golden Lion award, but lost to Lebanon.

External links

An in-depth review and analysis from the Guardian.
Multimedia
  • In The Center Ring: Michael Moore vs Capitalism - audio report by NPR
    NPR
    NPR, formerly National Public Radio, is a privately and publicly funded non-profit membership media organization that serves as a national syndicator to a network of 900 public radio stations in the United States. NPR was created in 1970, following congressional passage of the Public Broadcasting...

  • Michael Moore on New Film - video report by Countdown with Keith Olbermann
    Countdown with Keith Olbermann
    Countdown with Keith Olbermann is an hour-long weeknight news and political commentary program that airs on Current TV, where it began airing on June 20, 2011. The program was broadcast on MSNBC from March 31, 2003, to January 21, 2011. On MSNBC, the show presented five selected news stories of...

  • Michael Moore: "Capitalism Has Failed" - interviewed by CNN's Larry King Live
    Larry King Live
    Larry King Live is an American talk show hosted by Larry King on CNN from 1985 to 2010. It was CNN's most watched and longest-running program, with over one million viewers nightly....

  • Capitalism's Enemy, Michael Moore - video report by The Colbert Report
  • Naomi Klein in Conversation With Michael Moore - audio report by The Nation
    The Nation
    The Nation is the oldest continuously published weekly magazine in the United States. The periodical, devoted to politics and culture, is self-described as "the flagship of the left." Founded on July 6, 1865, It is published by The Nation Company, L.P., at 33 Irving Place, New York City.The Nation...

  • Michael Moore Examines Today's Economic State - video report by the Tavis Smiley Show
  • Moore Goes to the Source in "Capitalism: A Love Story" - video report by Democracy Now!
    Democracy Now!
    Democracy Now! and its staff have received several journalism awards, including the Gracie Award from American Women in Radio & Television; the George Polk Award for its 1998 radio documentary Drilling and Killing: Chevron and Nigeria's Oil Dictatorship, on the Chevron Corporation and the deaths of...