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“Society acquires its greatest wealth in the face of death.” This is the line that Lauren Greenfield’s documentary pursues, suggesting that the decadence of 21st-century America has the country heading the way of the Roman empire’s fallen hedonists. Interviewees, all of whom Greenfield has photographed over the last 25 years, share their thoughts on money, fame and status, having made and paid obscene amounts of cash in the name of hardcore pornography, tax fraud, cosmetic surgery, IVF treatment and a custom-designed palace (Greenfield made a whole film about the latter with 2012’s The Queen of Versailles), to name but a handful.
It could read as smug, holier-than-thou hand-wringing but, interestingly, Greenfield chooses also to implicate herself. By examining her own attitudes towards wealth, work and success, and digging into her relationships with her family, her dissection of the American dream ends up being more personal than a simplistic critique of capitalism.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Generation Wealth review – decline of the American empire | Film