GENERATION WEALTH review by Patrick Hendrickson – this doc about the rich is poorly done

GENERATION WEALTH review by Patrick Hendrickson – this doc about the rich is poorly done

GENERATION WEALTH is a documentary created by photojournalist Lauren Greenfield, aiming itself as a case-study of the highly damaging effects that the pursuit, and attainment, of immense wealth can have. The filmmaking itself is effectively done with several high-profile interviewees, as well as a look into the life of Greenfield herself. The is a wide variety of subjects in this film, ranging from controversial figures in the banking world such as Florian Homm, to people that Greenfield grew up with in California.

The majority of interview subjects are not easily relatable, despite the exploration of severe emotional trauma that they have endured. The ruminations and lamentations of various privileged individuals, Greenfield included, is not particularly engaging when considering the fact that their struggles are not unique to them. Everybody has similar struggles in life, but not everybody has the obscene amount of wealth that these people do. This is not to say it is not heartbreaking to hear these stories, but it rings somewhat hollow when considering the lesser privileged majority of this world who go through these same personal struggles and lack the wealth to manage them.

The documentarian has enough bravery to look inward at her own compulsions which is a refreshing addition to the documentary format. This makes things more personal as opposed to the detached tone typically employed in this type of study. However, this muddies the issue somewhat. Greenfield identifies her heavy work efforts as her own addictive behavior and even focuses on how it has negatively affected her children. This is not consistent with the focus of this documentary which ostensibly was the effects of immense wealth.

That focus on wealth is already a difficult one because of the sheer scope of the topic. The only trend that runs throughout this study is the general unhappiness and lack of fulfillment that wealth for wealth’s sake brings, but this is hardly an insightful observation. It could be said that this documentary quite simply had no business being made due to the fact that it offers no considerable material. There is nothing in this film that has not been explored countless times before. Furthermore, this film does nothing with its own material. These people are interviewed and given a platform to preach and to whinge, but the film fails to make any salient point by the end of its runtime.

GENERATION WEALTH begins as a case study relating to money but by the end has somehow transitioned to a half-hearted peek at addictive behaviors such as Greenfield’s workaholic tendencies. So what precisely is this documentary supposed to be about then? Wealth or addiction? If the case is being made that these things are linked then that link is poorly explored. The complete lack of focus in this documentary earns it a 2/5.

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