“The American Dream and Different Fairy Tales,” a questionably well-intentioned documentary about revenue inequality by Abigail E. Disney and Kathleen Hughes, lays naked the rotten core of the American dream and its promise of upward mobility. In different phrases, it’s devoted completely to stating the plain. Except, maybe, you reside beneath a rock — or in a $100 million penthouse.
The documentary begins with a takedown of the Walt Disney Firm and its labor practices, underscoring the irony of a enterprise like Disneyland claiming to be the “Happiest Place on Earth” whereas exploiting its low-wage staff. In a single scene, Abigail Disney rounds up a number of of those disgruntled workers, a lot of whom reveal they’ve relied on meals stamps or skilled homelessness. This revelation triggers a broader — and really primary — evaluation of the fashionable historical past of American capitalism, weaving archival footage of Disneyland’s humbler beginnings with onscreen interviews that Abigail Disney performed with economists and historians.
Disney, the granddaughter of the Walt Disney Firm co-founder Roy O. Disney, positions herself as one thing of a rogue member of the household. A philanthropist and longtime movie producer, she has no function within the firm, and in “The American Dream,” she argues that her grandfather wouldn’t have condoned such gross mistreatment of his workers. This, and the cutthroat means by which the corporate has expanded, she blames on the evolution of the nation’s enterprise requirements and the ascendance of free market ideology.
Truthful sufficient, however billion-dollar companies that unfairly compensate their low-skilled staff are, sadly, guidelines not exceptions. What, then, is the purpose of “The American Dream and Different Fairy Tales”? The centering of Abigail Disney’s voice — we additionally see her tweets calling out the outrageous salaries of Disney executives — makes the documentary a sort of private reckoning and an try to connect with different rich people, although one wonders how a movie that doubles as a “Capitalism for Dummies” video would make an influence. As an alternative, the documentary needs, above all, to ensure we all know how one explicit Disney feels.
The American Dream and Different Fairy Tales
Not rated. Working time: 1 hour 27 minutes. In theaters.