A documentary that investigates the pathologies that have created the richest society the world has ever seen.
(“Thin” and “The Queen of Versailles”) has been working on “Generation Wealth” for roughly ten years. Ms. Greenfield, in her latest documentary, decides to examine the desires today’s culture has with materialism, celebrity culture, and social status and it is tied into wealth. The loose theme of “Generation Wealth” is, well, money. She also uses the documentary to provide a visual history of the growing obsession that our culture has with wealth. Her focus is not just that of the United States, but she interviews individuals from Los Angeles to China and around the world.
However, Lauren’s latest documentary explores the human race’s obsession for money and I believe it falls short of its goal. She provides valid examples, yes, but I found them to be of the most extreme. A prime example is Florian Homm. Florian is a cigar-chomping hedge fund manager, who defrauded people out of millions of dollars. He now claims that he is broke, but is he? The reason I feel this is invalid is simple, how many average citizens can relate to this example, it fails to provide any real analysis that the viewer can digest themselves.
One aspect of the film that I felt was refreshing was that Ms. Greenfield was not at all afraid to turn the camera on her own family and their career choices. It would have been easy for her to remove herself and her family from the movie but credit to her for not doing so. The documentary fails to address one question, why are we so focused on money?
The film runs roughly 105 minutes and provides a number of narratives that at times I question the purpose of them being in the movie. The takeaway from this documentary is simple. What is happiness for each of us? The answer, we have to define for ourselves.
by Doug Hess