Film Review: “Generation Wealth” (2018) ★★★★


It’s quite interesting if you look deeper into what money can do to one individual or even a whole nation. The power of wealth is addictive and the most dangerous drug itself. If you have two people from different backgrounds put in one room, their reaction to having ten dollars in their pocket will be different. And I would be extremely happy to analyze that, but I guess, seeing “Generation Wealth” from Lauren Greenfield will better manage it than doing it myself by presenting the perspective of the richest society, their way of seeing money, the importance of having things the rest of the world can barely afford. Affording is a word that will find a new definition in a way none of us can even imagine…

Many of us might ask ourselves every day what went wrong with the American Dream? Why things that happen in a free country have become so materialistic and money driven? Why the values the country is being built on were abandoned for the sake of wealth, fame, beauty and the things which aren’t permanent in this life? Florian Homm at some point says in the film: “If you think that money will buy you everything or anything, you’ve never ever ever had money. Because I can’t buy the smile on the face of my daughter, or the love of my wife in the bed.” The documentary subject had his own profound reasons to come to that conclusion.

“Generation Wealth” is focused on people Lauren Greenfield photographed for her previous projects, but this time she takes a different approach by comparing the life they have with money and what they could have had if they weren’t that wealthy. As her documentary subjects have always directed their attention to excessive wealth, years later you find them in a different shape, mood and even perspective, same as drug addicts, realizing what they have done to their life with the complicated drug they had available in their hands.

For instance when the film begins, you might find it amusing and even funny. But if you leave its humoristic part aside, “Generation Wealth” is a masterful horror movie unnerving and uncomfortable to watch. But the director takes another interesting approach, making her movie more personal through the eyes she sees the society as an extreme, dangerous and corrupted by the smell of money. Having interviewed her parents, the director touches upon her past as well as a navigator to help the viewer understand her own reasons and the importance of explaining why the future is in danger if we care about money more than our loved ones.

But that is not the only reason why Greenfield’s documentary must be viewed by everyone who wants to understand better the society that follows money. The society wherein to the question, “What’s your goal?”, a little girl that is about to participate at a beauty pageant answers, “Money, money, money.” Indeed, the answer she provided was disturbing and it’s all due to the values and the spoiled world the little girl was introduced to. And if that is not something we must be afraid of, then what else?

In conclusion, the concept touched upon in “Generation Wealth” is universal and happens all over the world, but the unique touch of Lauren Greenfield helps the film to portray the reality of a blunt world. It’s thought-provoking and unsettling in the way it was intended. And if there’s something the viewer must take away after viewing it, it’s that life is about meaning and not about means. Because true wealth consists of being surrounded by people who care about us more than the available balance we have in our bank accounts. Sadly or luckily, Greenfield was a master in capturing that.

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