April 30, 2018  (Web Review)

The Divide

(2016) 78 min. $34.95 ($150 w/PPR): public libraries; $280: community colleges; $350 (w/PPR): colleges & universities. DRA. Media Education Foundation (www.mediaed.org). PPR. ISBN: 978-1-944024-03-4.

Reviewer rating: 2.5/4

U.K. filmmaker Katharine Round’s bitter glass-is-half-empty-(and-big-banks-own-the-glass) documentary rehashes the pathologies of globalized commerce and capitalist greed—deregulated and unleashed by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher—that created vast gaps between the super-rich and poorer middle/lower classes. A transatlantic point of view finds both opinion leaders (authors Rich Benjamin and Noam Chomsky, repentant banker Alexis Goldstein, British economist Sir Alan Budd) and average citizens talking about their struggles while the Dow hits new heights. A once-satisfied Walmart employee in Louisiana speaks of newer and more ruthless management and the imminent loss of her home. An unemployed alcoholic in Glasgow faces a life expectancy that is even shorter than those of the impoverished in India’s slums. A therapist in NYC works long hours to maintain his young family in their sterile high-rise. Even a mom who has moved into a wealthy gated community finds herself and her kids losing their old friends, surrounded only by smug old white guys driving luxury golf carts. A voice of reason, not surprisingly, is Barack Obama, calling for a fairer system that benefits everyone. While much of this is well-trod ground, it also serves as a reminder of a sad and salient truth about our contemporary world: the rich really do get richer and the poor get poorer. A strong optional purchase. Aud: C, P. (C. Cassady)