Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Inequality for All: A documentary that doesn’t feel like homework

Robert Reich in Inequality for All

2.5 out of 4 stars

Directed by
Jacob Kornbluth
Robert Reich

If you're thirsty for economic data that show how much the income gap in the United States has grown over the past 35 years, come drink from the firehose that is Inequality for All, a well-intentioned if incomplete doc about Robert Reich, the labour secretary during former U.S. president Bill Clinton's first term, who has spent decades trying to do something about inequality in America.

Director Jacob Kornbluth takes the familiar cable-TV talking points – the ones about the richest 400 Americans possessing wealth equal to that of their poorest 150 million countrymen, about flatlining average wages, about the tiny income-tax bills of multimillionaires – and adds quiet emotional heft by spending time with some middle-class folk falling behind.

Filmed in his lecture hall at Berkeley, and out in the country meeting roadkill of the globalized economy, Reich is a natural teacher of complex concepts: The film doesn't feel like homework. Still, while its description of the problem is convincing, you wish it could offer more of a prescription. But maybe that's not the film's fault, especially in the frozen democracy of America. As Reich says – spoiler alert – "There is no magic bullet."

Story continues below advertisement

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author
Senior Media Writer

Simon Houpt is the Globe and Mail's senior media writer, charged with covering the industry's transformation. He began his career with The Globe in 1999 as the paper's New York arts correspondent, covering the cultural life of that city through Canadian eyes. More


The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at