Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 20
  2. Negative: 2 out of 20
  1. 90
    Black's cool-headed but blistering indictment of globalization and the racist international economic policies that have shoved that country into crushing poverty.
  2. Reviewed by: Lenora Todaro
    Devastating, artful, and intelligent documentary.
  3. Offers the clearest analysis of globalization and its negative effects that I've ever seen on a movie or television screen.
  4. It's smart, instructive political cinema that tackles complex issues of the globalization with practical examples and vivid images and presents its effects in immediate human terms.
  5. After viewing documentarian Stephanie Black's dour exegesis of the wrecked Jamaican economy -- only the most insensitive vacationer will want to set foot anywhere near the resorts and beaches of Montego Bay.
  6. Hard to watch, harder still to ignore.
  7. 78
    To paraphrase Nathan McCall, this film makes you wanna holler.
  8. 75
    If you're curious about why the demonstrators are so angry, this is why they're so angry.
  9. 75
    A searing documentary with an agenda.
  10. Blends compassion for individuals with explanations of the socioenonomic factors that influence them.
  11. This is a sophisticated and unsettling documentary marred only by a voice-over taken from the writings of Jamaica Kincaid.
  12. What's frustrating for the viewer who wants to support the Jamaican economy is that "Life and Debt" does not suggest how Jamaica-lovers can help the island's citizens.
  13. Reviewed by: Loren King
    Employs both eloquent and down-to-earth methods to explain the complex reasons why so many of the world's developing countries remain caught in an economic quagmire that prevents them from becoming self-sufficient.
  14. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    The only criticism that can possibly be leveled at Black's film is its narrow focus, but it's not hard to extrapolate.
  15. The damning commentary and revelations about the perils of globalization, not just for Jamaica but developing countries the world over, do come across loud and clear.
  16. Powerfully illustrates what globalization has been doing to underdeveloped countries around the world.
  17. 63
    Often makes for a compelling comedy-drama about family ties. It's only when the cancer takes center stage that the movie feels like a wash.
  18. It's an intelligent movie about economics. As such, it would probably make more sense to have it reviewed by economists than film critics.
  19. Self-righteous, economically illiterate and sometimes flatly dishonest.
  20. 10
    Tough to respect a documentary that doesn't play fair. Anyone interested in the subject would be better off spending Life And Debt's torturous 80-minute running time with a good article on the topic.

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