Photographer and filmmaker Lauren Greenfield has made a career out of documenting the culture of conspicuous consumption and the commodification of all things – including the human body. In her 2006 feature documentary debut, Thin, about women with eating disorders, and the 2012 The Queen of Versailles, about a wealthy couple’s attempt to build a house in Florida modeled after the French royal palace, Greenfield has turned her camera on an America obsessed with the superficial.
It’s an obsession that has fascinated her for 25 years, ever since Greenfield found the first expression of her artistic voice in photographs of teenagers in Los Angeles […]. Greenfield’s latest documentary, Generation Wealth, is both a continuation of that obsession and a reflection upon it. In a sense, the film is a kind of double portrait, one in which the Los Angeles-bred artist and armchair anthropologist sees herself reflected in the mirror of her work, along with her self-regarding subjects. Of the world of privilege and perverse values that she has come to examine so closely […], she describes herself as both “critic and participant.”
Greenfield, for the most part, wisely leaves the preaching to others. If Generation Wealth has a message that empty acquisitiveness is bad, it delivers it, like the rest of her work, by showing, not telling.
Michael O’Sullivan, The Washington Post