The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel Parent Guide
The cheap shots devalue a film that otherwise does a fine job of raising big questions about society, politics, and economics.
Parent Movie Review
The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel feels like two documentaries that are coexisting uneasily in the same film.
The better of the two docs focuses on asking big questions about politics, society, and the role of corporations. For instance, Harvard philosopher Michael Sandel makes this point: “We’ve drifted from having a market economy to becoming a market society. A market economy is a valuable tool for organizing productive activity, but a market society is a place where almost everything is up for sale.” If the movie spent more time exploring the broader implications of this insight and other thought-provoking perspectives, it would be a more interesting production.
The second film jostling for space on the screen prioritizes snarky one liners and intellectual stunts. The narrator points out that corporations are considered “persons” under the law and then asks what kind of people they would be. After a superficial examination of a checklist, it is determined that corporations are psychopaths. Using loaded language like this weakens the production’s credibility and makes it feel like a salvo in an ideological pie fight.
The cheap shots are disappointing because The New Corporation raises some interesting points which are worth considering, no matter where you fall on the political spectrum, be it left, right, or somewhere in between.
The overarching issue in the film is the existence of socially conscious corporations. Is it possible, the narrator asks, for an organization dedicated to making profits and maximizing shareholder value to also prioritize the good of the community or are the two objectives irreconcilably opposed? In trying to answer this question, the movie touches on a plethora of topics, including private delivery of public services, environmental protection, widening income inequality, corporate influence on government, and the link between economic disenfranchisement and the politics of hate. The ground covered here is comprehensive but since it’s a broad survey, the film sacrifices depth for breadth, often skipping from topic to topic.
If you’re considering showing this film to your own teens or students, you can be assured that aside from some sexual expletives shouted by angry protesters, the movie is free from negative content. It does a good job of surveying a progressive position on economics and the need for participatory democracy but it would have been a better film had it included more interviews with experts who take divergent positions. That said, regardless of your political opinions, it’s still worth a watch because the questions it raises are too important to ignore.Directed by Jennifer Abbott, Joel Bakan. Starring Anjali Appadurai, Michael Sandel, Anand Giridharadras, Vandana Shiva, Robert Reich. Running time: 105 minutes. Theatrical release November 13, 2020. Updated February 5, 2021
Watch the trailer for The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel
The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel
Rating & Content Info
Why is The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel rated PG? The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel is rated PG by the MPAA
Violence: There are scenes of non violent protests. There are images of a refinery fire and mention of deaths. A fire on an offshore oil rig is seen. A massive oil spill is seen, complete with smoke and dead animals. People are rescued from a mudslide following a collapsed dam. The remnants of a crashed plane are shown. A highrise apartment building burns. A person experiences a drug overdose. An orangutan runs as its habitat is destroyed. A forest fire is shown. Police tussle with protesters. Police are seen dragging a man. Police knock a man down. Liquid is poured into a man’s eyes after he’s tear gassed.
Sexual Content: None noted.
Profanity: The sexual expletive is seen twice in a subtitle and once on a sign. Fffffff Sexual finger gestures
Alcohol / Drug Use: There is mention of opioid addictions and a person is seen having an overdose.
Page last updated February 5, 2021
The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel Parents' Guide
Do you think corporations can pursue profits while also retaining a sense of social responsibility? On what do you base your opinion?
What economic issues matter the most to you? Why are they important? What policies do you think would improve these economic issues? Do any political parties or interest groups espouse those policies? How can you get involved in finding solutions?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
Many of the interview subjects in this film have published books that explain their positions in greater detail.
Anand Giridharadras is the author of Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World.
Vandana Shiva has written extensively on many of the topics covered in the movie. She is the author of Oneness vs the 1%: Shattering Illusions, Seeding Freedom. She has also written Staying Alive: Women, Ecology, and Development and Who Really Feeds the World?
An alumna of Bill Clinton’s cabinet, Robert Reich has written frequently on economic issues, including his books, The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It, and Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few. He has also written The Common Good and Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future. In addition, he’s the author of Economics in Wonderland and Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life.
Michael Sandel’s books dive deeply into the philosophical issues behind economic systems. What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets dovetails with the questions raised in this documentary. He has also written The Tyranny of Merit: What’s Become of the Common Good? and Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?
The importance of participatory democracy is a key point of the documentary. The Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II has written on this topic in Revive Us Again: Vision and Action in Moral Organizing and The Third Reconstruction.