Support the Café
Search our site

Faith Reels: ‘Money Monster’ … capitalism indicted

Faith Reels: ‘Money Monster’ … capitalism indicted

by Bonnie Anderson and Dan Webster

 

Jodie Foster directs George Clooney and Julia Roberts in a potent indictment of our economic system that has decimated the middle class, increased the number of poor and made a handful obscenely rich.

 

‘Money Monster’ is a mash up of real life in-studio hostage taking and movies whose protagonist represents a disenfranchised group in our society. ‘John Q’ immediately comes to mind. Denzel Washington in that 2002 film played a frustrated, over-wrought dad fighting an insensitive health care system to save his son.

 

In ‘Money Monster’ we see Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell) representing everyone who has lost jobs, homes, or life savings to corporate greed. He points out that no one playing with “our” money gets punished. He takes hostage TV host Lee Gates (Clooney) who is clearly inspired by Jim Cramer, host of CNBC’s ‘Mad Money’ program.

 

What unfolds is a clear and well thought out damning of capitalism without a conscience. And if you haven’t gotten that by the end a clip of former Labor Secretary Robert Reich is there to tell us, “the stock market is a casino.”

 

Patty Fenn (Roberts) is Gates’ show director. She’s always talking in his ear trying to get the normally egotistical, maniacal TV celebrity to get humble for a change. But the movie is also an indictment of TV news. “We don’t do journalism here,” Patty says, lamenting to a friend the state of TV journalism overall.

 

Police are also lumped in with the powers of oppression as they appear to be doing Wall Street’s bidding. Ask retired Episcopal Bishop George Packard and his wife Brook about that. They experienced the police first hand during the September, 2012 Occupy Wall Street demonstrations in Manhattan.

 

As we see the Gates and Fenn characters grow to sympathize with Budwell several gospel scenes flash through one’s mind. The obvious one is the cleansing of the Temple. Jesus is furious that a few people are making money off a system that clearly disenfranchises the poor keeping them from offering sacrifices. And there are numerous stories of Jesus siding with those who his society would like not to see.

 

Justice is a theme of Jesus’ ministry. ‘Money Monster’ is pointing out we still have much work to do to create a just economic system that serves everyone.

 

Bonnie Anderson is a very active lay leader in her parish, diocese and in the wider Episcopal Church. She is an experienced community organizer and lives in suburban Detroit. Dan Webster is an Episcopal priest in Baltimore, Maryland and a former broadcast news executive. But don’t expect only east coast urban perspectives here. As it turns out, they both grew up in Southern California.  They blog about films and faith at Faith Reels

Dislike (0)
Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

Facebooktwitterrss
Support the Café
Past Posts
2020_001

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café