Born Rich (2003) - full documentary
This doc has kind of faded into obscurity, but it’s fascinating and I still can’t get out of my mind. This is a portrait of a group of teens and 20-somethings, all born into the highest echelon of society. Some of them you even recognize (I’m looking at you, natural-hair Ivanka Trump). Sports heiresses, princes, mogul spawn. How do they see “wealth”? What peculiar psychosis affects an 18-year-old millionaire? And most importantly, what do these rich lab rats have to tell us about the dynamics of privilege?
The filmmaker, Johnson & Johnson heir Jamie Johnson, has no charisma and is no great shakes in the editing room. But his access to the physical and emotional worlds of his friends makes for a searingly honest movie. Most memorable is Luke Weil, son of a game-empire king and the personification of pure evil: “I can buy your family, piss off. This is petty, and this is weak. And this is very underhanded, but it’s so easy, you know.”
My fave subject is Josiah Hornblower, who inherited both the Whitney Museum and a host of mental health issues. The money ultimately drove him to climb up into trees and bark at people. Only now is this kid finding the way back to “normal.” He is so guilty and lost, you almost pity him. Almost.