First Ever Pennywise Movie Review

I wish I could recall how I learned about this movie, but I heard it was a must-see indie film. Since my interest is in finance, and my family is following the “Total Money Makeover” plan to get out of debt and live life without it, I decided to take a look.

This independent documentary about the credit business knocked my socks off. It was amazing. I found it through the library, but it’s also available for purchase or via Netflix or Amazon video on Demand.

The film hit home in many ways–about how credit cards prey on people (in ways I’d never imagined) and about how people fall victim to various credit ploys. I’m not quite in the “all credit is evil” camp, because I choose to live without it, but certainly this painted some shocking pictures–including of one credit card company that was shredding checks upon receipt and then billing customers interest and late fees because their checks were lost in the mail.

It told the story of a woman who committed suicide after leading a double-life with a spending-addiction and of college students so maxed out on credit cards that they choose to end their lives over a $12,000 credit card balance.

After watching this film, I tracked down my high school civics teacher on Facebook and requested that he show this film to all of his students every year-I hope that he’ll consider if he hasn’t already. The stories of these college students, as told by their parents was heart-wrenching.

There’s a number of great guests on the documentary–from specialists in credit and bankruptcy statistics to Dave Ramsey himself, Jimmy Carter, and that guy from Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Debt collectors and agents are also interviewed. All together it was a well-rounded and informative view of the industry. “Maxed Out” was passionate and informative and energetic and earns four stars from me.

If I were to offer any criticism at all, it would be my most common criticism of indie films–that the volume is inconsistent throughout the film, leaving me holding on to the remote for dear life to keep it somewhere between too loud and too quiet.