Michael Moore's new movie, "Capitalism: A Love Story," drew applause from the viewers at the Kendall Square Cinema Sunday night. Despite the note of guarded optimism at the end, most of the scenes in the film were hardly cause to cheer. A family burning their possessions after getting evicted from their home in Peoria, Ill. ... blue-chip companies cashing in on life-insurance policies when their employees die ... a window worker in Chicago choking up when he and his colleagues lose their jobs when the company folds ...
Like a latter-day Dickens, Moore shows us the inhumane side of capitalism, and the very visible damage that the invisible hand of Adam Smith has wrought lately. It's perversely appropriate that the front page of the Boston Metro Monday morning is devoted to an auction of abandoned property in Detroit -- an amount "so massive it would fill all of the Hub."
Moore reveals the human faces beyond the statistics (including his own father, who discusses the better days of Detroit's auto industry), and while the New York Times criticized him for being short on solutions, he shows several examples of communities coming together to fight for the victims of capitalism in Chicago and Florida. At times the film seems longer than its two-hour, six-minute length, and at times it ignores history (Moore fusses over the crossover between Goldman Sachs and the Treasury Department but doesn't mention the tradition of such crossovers, as was the case with former Treasury boss/plutocrat Andrew Mellon in the early 20th century).
Still, Moore deserves praise for another timely expose, this one of the timeless problem of human greed.