We've been hearing this fact since the financial crisis hit in 2007: Income inequality in the United States is at its most polarizing since the Great Depression. That's where Inequality for All starts, and it then goes about explaining just how we got this place. At the helm through our journey is Robert Reich. You may remember Reich as President Bill Clinton's first labor secretary. He's currently a professor at UC Berkeley, and as he and others remind us many, many times in 85 minutes, he's quite short. But shortness isn't really the point, even if Reich's constant references to his height humanize further an already warm figure. His point is that the polarization of wealth has nearly countless reasons, and he runs them down, from the conservative wave in the late 1970s and 1980s, to deregulation to union busting. Inequality for All is smart, it's running time short, and Reich and director Jacob Kornbluth often put a human face on wage stagnation by letting Americans with shrinking paychecks tell their stories. It's a clever move in a movie that could get bogged down with statistics. The movie ends with a call to action, which is mildly irritating. But when the American response to so many things is apathy, maybe the call isn't a bad idea. (DR)
CCA Cinematheque, PG, 85 min