Requiem for the American Dream

Through interviews filmed over four years, Noam Chomsky unpacks the principles that have brought us to the crossroads of historically unprecedented inequality – tracing a half-century of policies designed to favor the most wealthy at the expense of the majority – while also looking back on his own life of activism and political participation. He provides penetrating insight into what may well be the lasting legacy of our time – the death of the middle class, and swan song of functioning democracy.


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  • ★★★½ review by Steven Sheehan on Letterboxd

    Noam Chomsky talks through the ten social and political principles he believes have enabled the super-rich to preserve and grow their status, while creating a widening gap between everyone else. The format is simple enough, closely focused in on the weathered features of the philosopher, with cutaways to stock images and graphics based on Mark Wagner's Currency Collage art.

    There isn't anything sensationalist about how Chomsky calmly talks through the financial institutions stranglehold over private and private sectors and the rise in mass consumerism. He isn't surprised and neither should we be. For the politically aware this features many well-worn points of discussion but the presence of Chomsky makes them well worth digesting again.

  • ★★★★ review by Jared on Letterboxd

    A cutting, ruthless indictment of the tectonic forces at work in the shadows of America, but also of all those politically apathetic potential voters who indirectly enabled it. My parents forced Noam Chomsky's writings on me at a young age, probably 13, but as I've grown I've appreciated that infinitely. Political apathy has always disgusted me. Sure, the puppeteers may still be in control when you learn about it all, but at least you can see the strings. An informed populace is what we need, and with bigots like Trump perpetrating ignorance, change isn't on the horizon. Still, like all great laments of modern society, Requiem for the American Dream is ultimately a call to action, to take the dive and educate yourself to the point when you're able to see the patterns, powers and shadowed workings that constantly shape your life. This is an essential documentary that really should be screened at public schools across America.

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    The final film in my Next 15 Watches (Vol. 2)

  • ★★★½ review by Emily Housel on Letterboxd

    noam chomsky is monotone af and this is moderately interesting. basic information that I, for the most part, already knew, but I do suggest it for anyone interested.

  • ★★★★ review by Lewis Skelly on Letterboxd

    Not a game changer but important none the less. I'm sure most people viewing this documentary, like myself, had knowledge on the subjects raised prior to viewing, but what this movie does brilliantly is detail just how simple it has been for the wealthy to increase their wealth, their power, and grind the 99% into the smallest inconvenience possible.

    I would recommend this to those familiar and unfamiliar with these kind of 'men who really pull the strings' things - but in terms of a documentary, although interesting and well laid out, can be a little underwhelming at points. That doesn't necessarily have to be viewed in a negative light.

  • ★★★★★ review by juliahrice on Letterboxd

    This is one of my favorites from AFI Docs Film Festival. I hate the title of this film. It should have been named "how the 1% screws the 99%". I consider this a very important film, like Citizen Four. I encouraged all my friends to see it and as soon as it was over I wanted to see it again. I wanted to take notes because it is very dense with information. It gives one a real education. I'm certain it will never show on television because no corporation would ever sponsor it.

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