'Generation Wealth' Shows Why We're Obsessed with Money More Than Ever

How many Birkin bags in exchange for your soul?

It’s always said that the best things in life are free, but the characters in Lauren Greenfield’s upcoming documentary would almost certainly counter that sentiment.

The trailer for Generation Wealth was released on Wednesday and it shows how the photographer and filmmaker enters the world of the rich and dives deep into society’s growing obsession with excessive materialism and to a lesser extent, money.

Here’s the the heart of the story, as pulled from film’s official synopsis:

Spanning consumerism, beauty, gender, body commodification, aging and more, Greenfield has created a comprehensive cautionary tale about a culture heading straight for the cliff’s edge. Generation Wealth, simultaneously a deeply personal journey, rigorous historical essay, and raucously entertaining expose, bears witness to the global boom-bust economy, the corrupted American Dream and the human costs of capitalism, narcissism and greed.

Like Greenfield’s previous film, The Queen of Versailles — which explored the world of a billionaire family in Florida as they faced the 2009 recession — Generation Wealth follows a cast of eccentric characters as they dish on their personal obsessions with making money.

From Birkin bags in every color, to plastic surgery for their dogs, the wealth-driven subjects in Greenfield’s documentary paint a portrait of a society obsessed with not just material wants, but with material excess. In the process, Greenfield asks what this unending need for pricy stuff is doing to our society as a whole, and whether it portends civilization’s decline.

Following characters like a career-driven mother working 100 hours a week at the expense of her personal life, to reviewing the absurd materialism of the uber-rich, Greenfield’s film paints a portrait of a society dangerously out of touch with reality. Kind of like a car crash, it’s difficult to look away when confronted by the grotesque human results of out-of-control materialism and greed. Generation Wealth will likely make for an engrossing watch, but its themes will hopefully also prompt viewers to take a reflective look at how they value money — and at what cost?

Generation Wealth hits theaters July 20.

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