Sunday, November 24, 2013

Brandon Isaacson on Inequality for All (re-post from

This originally appeared on, 9/26/2013.

Inequality for All, winner of the Special Jury Prize at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, looks at economic inequality across US history. For better or worse, it’s a liberal lecture. It’s a very good lecture, but great documentaries aren’t lectures.

The film explores the ideas of Robert Reich, a best-selling author who teaches public and economic policy at top institutions, and served three presidential administrations including Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. A surprising amount of the movie is literally Reich teaching at UC Berkeley.

The film has very good information and Reich is very intelligent. However, it wastes its opportunity to communicate that by building to classic liberal condescension. What is the point? Why are they just preaching to the choir? Rally the liberal troops? If they really wanted to start a dialogue, they wouldn’t be doing a limited release either. Why no VOD? Why not TV?

I’m frustrated and disappointed. There is more we can be doing to start a dialogue about these issues. Why waste Reich's intelligence on people who agree with him? Why be condescending to people who could learn from him? I hope Inequality for All gets to people that can learn from it (it won’t).

Grade: B/B-

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