Freakonomics, a movie released on December 3, 2010, originates from the book with a similar name. The directors of the movie are Heidi Ewing and Alex Gibney, among others. Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, the authors of the book Freakonomics, discuss social issues like abortion, parenting, and the impacts they have on the life of an individual. Similarly, the main themes of the film, which are both socially and economically oriented, include sexuality, drugs, power/money, and crime. Although the themes, characters, literary elements, and presentation of the film correspond perfectly with the novel, there are some peculiarities that help a watcher grasp a better understanding of the issues described.
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The origin of the movie
Different writers contributed to the success of the movie Freakonomics. For instance, Steven Levitt explored the part of natural or innate world, Morgan Spurlocks wrote on the aspect of child naming with the impact on his/her adulthood while Gibney concentrated on the theme of corruption, especially in sports such as wrestling. Moreover, Eugene Jarecki’s part dwelled on social issues like abortion legalization and the subsequent decline in crime whereas Grady and Ewing focused on the issue of corruption in education using the ninth graders as a case study. Through its characters, the movie analyzes the same social issues as in the novel Freakonomics. Nevertheless, the aspect of bribery committed by ninth grade students to pass exams does not exist in the book. However, although the film’s name originates from the word economics, the movie seems to concentrate more on the social sphere of life.
Major themes highlighted in the movie
The movie presents a variety of themes such as sexuality/abortion, corruption, and crime, among others. Spurlock seems unable to understand why racism exists even while giving names to newborn children. The names of the African children differ from the ones of their white counterparts. Therefore, what is the social impact of naming, especially on a child’s later life? The naming system exists for identification of each person’s origin, which subsequently promotes racism and affects the socio-economic implementation in society.
The second theme presented in the film is corruption whereby the state police practice extrajudicial killings and live freely without facing the law. Similarly, even education has become a business affair because some children are more likely to pay for their grades instead of working hard to achieve them. Finally, the movie suggests that poor sexual education among women and young girls leads to abortion cases, which has drastic aftermaths to the lives of the women involved. However, with the acceptance or legalization of abortion, not only has the level of crime declined but also the number of deaths caused by illegal abortion has decreased. On the whole, the Freakonomics movie highlights the strategies needed for promoting good social practices, which will subsequently lead to the improvement of economy as well as the lifestyle of individuals.
In summary, though it is a documentary originating from the novel Freakonomics, the film concentrates more on the social issues rather than economic aspects as perceived from the title. Social themes affecting both the traditional and contemporary world prevail in the movie. Accordingly, the film condemns social obstacles hindering the unity in community, such as abortion, extrajudicial killings, or corruption. Finally, the aspect of racism or discrimination that has existed since the slavery times till the modern society is the major social problem or barrier that the movie tends to overcome.