I didn't know what to expect with this latest Michael Moore film. I knew what to expect going into "Sicko" and "Farenheit 451" and "Bowling for Columbine". As I watched this new effort unfold on the screen, I realized this is a very different Michael Moore movie.
Previous Moore movies hit you over the head with what they wanted from you. The intent of Sicko was to motivate the country to seek Universal Healthcare for all. The purpose of Farenheit 451 was to stop the war in Iraq. Bowling for Columbine was a clear call for more gun regulation. "Capitalism -- A Love Story" is more subtle with what it expects from us.
I'm sure that Conservative Pundits will spin the movie as a call for Socialism or Communism. Lazy thinking would certainly lead someone in that direction, i.e., "Well, if he doesn't like Capitalism, what other economic systems are out there?". I hope this subtlety doesn't end up hurting the film. People who can (and are willing to) think will figure out what Moore is trying to say with this movie.
Moore's ire is not aimed at Capitalism in general, but what American Capitalism has become since the 1970's and 80's. Moore speaks lovingly, albeit indirectly, about the brand of Capitalism that existed in the US in the 1940's, 50's and 1960's, using examples from his own family and his father's tenure in the auto industry replete with good health insurance and a good pension that cannot be taken away.
This film shows how something has gone wrong since then, something that we need to fix. The movie addresses US home evictions, the destruction of American manufacturing, the bailouts of the financial industry and much more. But consider what I wrote above about Moore's father. Michael Moore's dad worked over 30 years with the same company, he wasn't laid-off or furloughed, and he had great benefits including healthcare and a pension for life after retirement. What has happened to all of that? Did we get something better in return for having given that up? Not that we had a choice, those kinds of things were simply taken away from us.
If we could all vote to go back to the economic system in the 1950's and 1960's versus the system we have now, what do you think the vote would be like? I think it would be 85% for the 1950's and 1960's and 15% for what we have now. So what do the 85% of us do, if anything? That is the question with which Michael Moore intentionally leaves us. In some ways, not having "what to do" wrapped up all nicely for us is refreshing. It makes one think, assuming one is inclined to do so.
The most interesting rub in this is, even if you are in the wealthiest 1% or a CEO or both, what has to hit you is that American businesses were more successful in the 1950s and 1960s than they have been since. "Capitalism -- A Love Story" is a great film that should be seen by everyone. We have lost something in this country and this movie makes that clear.