6.4/10
6,421
24 user 72 critic

Freakonomics (2010)

PG-13 | | Documentary | 3 September 2010 (USA)
Trailer
2:32 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
A collection of documentaries that explores the hidden side of human nature through the use of the science of economics.
1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A documentary about the Enron corporation, its faulty and corrupt business practices, and how they led to its fall.

Director: Alex Gibney
Stars: John Beard, Tim Belden, Barbara Boxer
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Filmmaker Alex Gibney investigates the fact that the 400 richest Americans control more wealth than the 150 million people in the bottom 50 percent of the population.

Director: Alex Gibney
Stars: Alex Gibney, Jack Abramoff, Michele Bachmann
Documentary | History | News
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Nearly 100 years after its creation, the power of the U.S. Federal Reserve has never been greater. Markets and governments around the world hold their breath in anticipation of the Fed ... See full summary »

Director: Jim Bruce
Stars: Liev Schreiber, Paul Volcker, Janet Yellen
Trader (TV Movie 1987)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Filmed before Wall Street's October 1987 crash, TRADER is a one hour documentary of a fascinating man, Paul Tudor Jones II. It delivers a rarely seen view of futures trading and explains ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Glyn
Stars: Peter Borish, Paul Tudor Jones
Maxed Out (2006)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

When Hurricane Katrina ravaged America's Gulf Coast, it laid bare an uncomfortable reality-America is not only far from the world's wealthiest nation; it is crumbling beneath a staggering ... See full summary »

Director: James D. Scurlock
Stars: Beth Naef, Mike Hudson, Louis C.K.
Life and Debt (2001)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Documentary look at the effects of globalization on Jamaican industry and agriculture.

Director: Stephanie Black
Stars: Belinda Becker, Buju Banton, Horst Köhler
Documentary | Biography | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Die-hard gamers compete to break world records on classic arcade games.

Director: Seth Gordon
Stars: Steve Wiebe, Billy Mitchell, Mark Alpiger
Documentary | Comedy | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Morgan Spurlock tours the Middle East to discuss the war on terror with Arabic people.

Director: Morgan Spurlock
Stars: Morgan Spurlock, George Bush, Dick Cheney
Detropia (2012)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A documentary on the city of Detroit and its woes, which are emblematic of the collapse of the U.S. manufacturing base.

Directors: Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady
Stars: Noah Stewart, Rachele Gilmnore, Michael Wanko
Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Documentary that looks at the concept of the corporation throughout recent history up to its present-day dominance.

Directors: Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott
Stars: Mikela Jay, Rob Beckwermert, Christopher Gora
Super Size Me (2004)
Documentary | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

While examining the influence of the fast food industry, Morgan Spurlock personally explores the consequences on his health of a diet of solely McDonald's food for one month.

Director: Morgan Spurlock
Stars: Morgan Spurlock, Daryl Isaacs, Chemeeka Walker
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A probing investigation into the lies, greed and corruption surrounding D.C. super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his cronies.

Director: Alex Gibney
Stars: Jack Abramoff, Tom DeLay, William Branner
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
James Ransone
Tempestt Bledsoe ... Herself (archive footage)
Morgan Spurlock ... Himself - Narrator
Melvin Van Peebles ... Himself - Narrator (segment "It's Not Always A Wonderful Life")
Bill Gates ... Himself
Alisha Nagarsheth ... Student
Greg Crowe ... Johnny the Mechanic
John D. Rockefeller ... Himself
Zoe Sloane ... Blake
Kahiry Bess ... Deshawn
Rahmel Long ... Courtroom Audience
Dan Chen ... Bruce-Cubicle Worker
Ngozi Jane Anyanwu ... Uneek
Barry Eisler Barry Eisler ... Himself
Konishiki Konishiki ... Himself
Edit

Storyline

The field of economics can study more than the workings of economies or businesses, it can also help explore human behavior in how it reacts to incentives. Economist Steven D. Levitt and journalist Stephen J. Dubner host an anthology of documentaries that examines how people react to opportunities to gain, wittingly or otherwise. The subjects include the possible role a person's name has for their success in life, why there is so much cheating in an honor bound sport like sumo wrestling, what helped reduce crime in the USA in the 1990s onward and we follow an school experiment to see if cash prizes can encourage struggling students to improve academically. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Six Rogue Filmmakers Explore The Hidden Side Of Everything

Genres:

Documentary

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for elements of violence, sexuality/nudity, drugs, and brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 September 2010 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Freakonomia See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$31,893, 4 October 2010, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$100,675, 28 November 2010
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Quotes

Steven Levitt - Author: The closest thing to a worldview, I would say, in "Freakonomics," is that incentives matter. Not just financial incentives, but social incentives and moral incentives.
See more »

Connections

References Hello Kitty's Furry Tale Theater (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

Desteapta-Te Romane
Composed by Andrei Muresianu
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
When economics becomes freaky
21 June 2012 | by intern-88See all my reviews

Until 2005, the words 'economics' and 'fun' were unlikely to be found in the same sentence. Economics was seen as a dry, technical, mathematical discipline: the preserve of driven businessmen, greedy bankers and staid Treasury officials. Fun was its opposite: spontaneous enjoyment available to regular people.

The publication of Freakonomics in 2005 changed all that. Steven Levitt, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago, and Stephen Dubner, a New York Times journalist, somehow gave economics popular appeal. So far the book has sold over four million copies worldwide. Last year, a sequel, Superfreakonomics, was published and there is also a Freakonomics blog linked to the New York Times website.

Wherever there's an unexpected publishing hit, you can be sure that a bandwagon will soon follow. In 2007 alone we had Steven Landsburg's More Sex is Safer Sex, Tyler Cowen's Discover Your Inner Economist and Diane Coyle's The Soulful Science. Nor is the fun confined to the paperback stands. Earlier this month there was even an international academic symposium on 'economics made fun in the face of economic crisis' at Erasmus University in Rotterdam.

The film follows the structure of the book with chapters loosely linked by the broad approach of the authors. There is little sense of narrative beyond that. However, one innovation is that different chapters are made by different directors including Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me), Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side) and Seth Gordon (The King of Kong).

Freakonomics the movie is worth watching for two reasons. As with any cultural phenomenon, whether it is The X-Factor or Strictly Come Dancing (aka Dancing with the Stars outside the UK), it is interesting to ask why it catches the popular imagination. This is particularly true when the subject matter is – or at least was – widely seen as incredibly dull.

Understanding the approach to economics taken in the film also helps reveal some deeper truths. It shows the limitations of contemporary economics and can even help viewers understand fashionable policy initiatives such as the attempt to 'nudge' people to behave in a particular way.

The first thing that viewers of the Freakonomics movie are likely to notice it that has little time for the traditional subject matter of the discipline. There is no room for discussion of business, supply-and- demand curves, and certainly no mathematics. Instead it covers such subjects as parenting, naming babies, cheating at exams, corruption among Sumo wrestlers and crime. If anything, such topics would normally be classified as sociology rather than economics.

From the authors' perspective, what makes their book economics is their approach to these subjects. Their concerns are unashamedly practical. They want to use economic tools to help improve human behaviour in all these areas.

Levitt and Dubner's mantra, and indeed that of contemporary market economics generally, is that 'humans respond to incentives'. Such incentives are often financial but they can also be moral and social. In each case the authors ask themselves what incentives would work best to improve outcomes:

Is bribing toddlers with M&Ms a good way to potty train them? Should pupils be paid to perform better at school? If so, at what age and exactly how? Does choosing a particular name for a baby improve its life chances? For example, through the choice of name alone, is a Brendan likely to do better than a Deshawn? Both the attractions and limitations of this form of economics should already have started to become clear. The subject matter of Freakonomics relates to everyday interests and concerns. It is about practical questions that confront individuals and parents as well as policymakers.

In many ways it is better seen as a form of self-help than economics in the traditional sense. It is an attempt to find better, supposedly more scientific, ways to improve the behaviour of errant individuals. It says little, if anything, about traditional key economic questions such as how to organise production, how to raise productivity or how to create a more prosperous society.

Although the Freakonomics approach is not entirely mainstream it is not marginal either. Gary Becker, also a professor of economics at the University of Chicago, won the Nobel Prize for economics in 1992 for work on similar questions to those raised in the film. Although his work was not aimed at the general public, his concerns were comparable to those of Levitt and Dubner's.

Even mainstream economics, although more concerned with business than Freakonomics, suffers from many of the same weaknesses. Its focus is largely on individual consumer behaviour, its approach is ahistorical and it has little to say about the process of production.

Freakonomics the film, like the book, is entertaining and sometimes thought-provoking. Although it is more self-help than traditional economics it shares many of the weaknesses of more serious works in the discipline.

Its focus on individual behaviour also lends itself to a preoccupation with manipulating individual choices. That is where Freakonomics becomes truly freaky.


7 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 24 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

IMDb Freedive: Watch Movies and TV Series for Free

Watch Hollywood hits and TV favorites for free with IMDb Freedive. Start streaming on IMDb and Fire TV devices today!

Start watching



Recently Viewed