Combustible Celluloid
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Written by: Lauren Greenfield
Directed by: Lauren Greenfield
MPAA Rating: R for strong sexual content, nudity, disturbing images, and drug material
Running Time: 106
Date: 08/03/2018

Generation Wealth (2018)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Status Woe

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

I was not much of a fan of Lauren Greenfield's The Queen of Versailles. I found her subjects not only chronically uninteresting, but also repulsive. With Generation Wealth, though, she seems to have made a major realization. She takes a step back and looks at the larger picture, a picture of unchecked, grossly outsized amounts of money gone rampant, along with an accompanying obsession with status and beauty. The new film notes that, whenever this happens to any civilization throughout world history, it usually signals its final downfall. She notes that our current downfall began during Nixon's presidency in the 1970s when we stopped using the gold standard for the cash in circulation. We just began printing it. Greenfield interviews several subjects, some of whom were insanely wealthy at some point, some of whom planned to be wealthy and didn't make it, and others who spent tons of money hoping for a taste of the good life. One interviewee is the son of the lead singer of REO Speedwagon and was largely left on his own to do whatever he wanted while his father had a rock star lifestyle. Most of these interviewees are now appreciating the smaller things in life. Then Greenfield begins to wonder how she connects with all this. How have her own obsessions, and her own penchant for choosing work over family, contributed? Unfortunately, as personal as she gets here, she fails to tie everything together into a cohesive thesis; the downfall of civilization has very little to do with her career. And as the film rambles past the 90 minute point, it's easy to stop caring.

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