Film Review: “Generation Startup”

In Arts & Entertainment, Film & TV, Reviews
"Generation Startup" illustrates the difficulties that college graduates face when launching a company. (Courtesy of Creative Breed)
Courtesy of Creative Breed

The documentary “Generation Startup” illustrates the difficult task of starting a company. The film follows six college graduates as they take on the challenge of starting their own companies. “Generation Startup” quickly addresses many preconceived notions about becoming an entrepreneur by depicting the grind that accompanies it. The documentary is shot with a painfully honest and raw perspective, allowing viewers to empathize with the subjects of the film.

The graduates are involved in a program called Venture for America, which helps them start their own businesses. Many of the college graduates went to prestigious universities, like Cornell University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Johns Hopkins University. Even though the graduates are motivated to start companies they are still just young adults who actually admit to being fearful of the process.

The directors, Cheryl Miller Houser and Cynthia Wade, add humorous moments to lighten the film’s serious mood, but there is never a moment that seems staged or scripted. For exampleThe documentary keeps the audience rooting for the young entrepreneurs, making it an emotional film.

One of the greatest peaks is when Labib Rahman reveals he no longer wants to be a practicing Muslim, and that his parents stopped speaking to him as a result. Another gripping scene is when Max Nussenbaum is in the living room of his half-renovated home (which he shares with eight others) trying to endure a blistering winter using a tent and a space heater. These scenes give viewers a taste of the sacrifices necessary to start a company.

Most of the movie takes place in dilapidated Detroit. However, “Generation Startup” captures a livelier side of the Motor City through its focus on the graduates’ companies and dreams, but they are still criticized more than praised for their work.

The empathetic nature of “Generation Startup” inspires audiences to believe in themselves and to never give up. The graduates must endure many trials such as struggling with low finances and failing to ship products that meets production standards.

“Generation Startup” is a must-see film with a lot of educational value as millennials attempt to achieve what most people only dream of.

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