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Born Rich (A Movie Review)

Updated: Apr 25, 2021

Born Rich

Born Rich

BORN RICH  (2003)

Starring Josiah Hornblower, S.I. Newhouse IV, Ivanka Trump, Georgina Bloomberg, Luke Weil, Cody Franchetti, Stephanie Ercklentz, Carlo von Zeischel, Christina Floyd, Juliet Hartford, Peter Skolnik and Jamie Johnson.

Directed by Jamie Johnson.

Distributed by Shout! Factory.  81 minutes.  Rated PG.

You know you hate them.  They’re young, attractive and they never have to work a day in their lives.  But the lives of the children of multi-millionaires can’t be that easy can it?  It’s not all parties with Paris and Nicky, summers in the Hamptons or the Mediterranean, cotillions, jetting off to exotic locales and spending daddy’s cash, is it?

Surprisingly and happily, this documentary shows that it really isn’t.  We get to spend a little time with the heirs and heiresses of some of the greatest family fortunes in the world. 

There is Josiah Hornblower (from the Vanderbilt lineage), media heirs S.I. Newhouse IV and Georgina Bloomberg, Ivanka Trump, the daughter of real estate mogul and reality show host Donald, gambling sire Luke Weil, banking daughter Stephanie Ercklentz, textile heir Cody Franchetti, grocery store daughter Juliet Hartford, European royal Carlo von Zeischel and Christina Floyd, daughter of golfer Raymond Floyd. 

While all of them still have it way easier than you or I, at least you get an insight into what their lives are like.

The film was directed by Jamie Johnson, who is also one of the trust fund babies.  (He’s a grandson of the Johnson & Johnson fortune.)  Because of this, Johnson does get incredible access to these kids, for better and for worse. 

Honestly, he isn’t a spectacular filmmaker, and Johnson is also the one rich child who seems most uncomfortable in front of the camera, which is a bit of a problem since is the narrator of the film.  Conversations between Johnson and his father seem particularly forced, like they both are giving rehearsed speeches that they can’t quite remember.  However, Johnson has come up with a fascinating premise and despite a few technical gaffes it is very much worth seeing.

The other heirs come off seeming either well-adjusted and normal (Josiah Hornblower, S.I. Newhouse IV and Ivanka Trump all seem like complicated people with their heads basically on straight) or somewhat shallow and superficial (Cody Franchetti, Carlo von Zeitschel and Christina Floyd).  Many, like Luke Weil and Stephanie Ercklentz, seem an interesting mix of both. 

Most of them do love their affluence, but they also feel it is something of a curse.  As one points out, the American dream is to do better than your parents, but since they don’t have that goal, they are sort of on the outside looking in.

Whether you buy into that will pretty much decide what you think of this film.  In the long run, whether they are smart and interesting or spoiled and vapid, they are just kids.  Kids who have many of the same problems as you and I, and who don’t have many of the others.  To paraphrase Ernest Hemingway, of course the rich are different than you and me.  They have more money.  (10/04)

Alex Diamond

Copyright ©2004  All rights reserved. Posted: October 6, 2004.

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