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Brother, Can You Spare a Dollar? Film Review

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Depression Retrospective Compares America of Thirties to the U.S. Today

People had it a lot harder andhandled their lot in life a lot better during the Great Depression than folksdo during the current recession, at least that's the proposition put forth adnauseam by Thom Hoffman, the director/narrator of Brother, Can You Spare a Dollar. And why might that be the case? Back inthe Thirties, safety nets like Medicare and Social Security didn't exist, soeveryone had to man up, lean on each other's shoulders, and figure a way tosurvive without any help from the government.

Bycomparison, Hoffman indicts today's U.S. citizenry for being self-indulgent,spoiled consumers with an unquenchable thirst for frivolous luxuries. In theprocess he places the so-called Greatest Generation up on a pedestal whileindicting the materialist Me Generation for the degeneration of America into avast wasteland on the verge of collapse marked by everything from thedisintegration of the family to the gluttonous behavior of the 1%ers on WallStreet.


Whilewell-intentioned and at times even thought-provoking, the picture isunfortunately too simplistic and sloppily slapped together to amount to muchmore than the unstructured musings of a curmudgeon nostalgic for a bygone erawhen the jobless had to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps instead of beingable to turn to Uncle Sam for food stamps and unemployment checks. Truth be told, it's gonna take alot more than a little tough love and pounding the pavement to get this country'seconomy righted.

Brother,can you spare me the aggravating agit-propaganda?

Fair (1 star)


Running time: 70 minutes

Distributor: Thom Hoffman Productions

To see a trailer for Brother, Can You Spare a Dollar:

Kam Williams is a syndicated film and book critic who writes for 100+ publications. He is a member of the New York Film Critics Online, the African-American Film Critics Association, and the NAACP Image Awards Nominating Committee. Contact him through NewsBlaze. Read more reviews by Kam Williams.

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