Generation Wealth 1.0 stars

Generation Wealth movie poster

Better title: Generation Greenfield. Photographer and documentarian Lauren Greenfield is an anthropologist of American excess, as evidenced by her recent film The Queen of Versailles and by her various deep dives into privileged youth, cosmetic enhancement, and various sorts of striving — beauty pageants, porn stardom, and oh yes, motherhood. But where her subject makes having and raising a baby into her all-consuming mission, it’s clear that Greenfield’s own mother wasn’t about to lay down her career to attend to little Lauren, just as big Lauren isn’t about to stop jetting around the world to tend to her sons. She’s passing along exactly the childhood she endured, even though she didn’t like it much, and neither do her boys. Oh well, life’s tough. At least she’s not like the mom who drove herself into debt via copious plastic surgery, then lost a daughter to cutting and worse. (Greenfield really is good at getting subjects to open up on camera about seriously painful material.) Set against these rather problematic mothers are two fathers, a one-hit rap star and the son of a bona fide rock star, who have learned from their mistakes and sought to make a different life for their children. So that’s nice — much nicer than the film itself, which is scattered and self-indulgent, a career retrospective in search of a coherent theme. 2018.

Matthew Lickona

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