The Wolf of Wall Street - A Review

by Liz Heather in ,

Why did I hate The Wolf of Wall Street? 

I didn't! I know, it's weird 'cause I thought I would hate it based on what I'd heard about it. But before you lose your mind, I wouldn't say I loved it or even liked it either. I just feel sort of weird about it. And here's why.

First of all, anyone who thinks it's awful because of its treatment of women, well, you're allowed to feel however you want, but that was the last thing that concerned me here when there are such larger fish to fry (more on this below). This movie is based on this dude's story, so if that's how women were treated in his story, then cool - that fact has nothing to do with any of my real problems here. The best way that I've heard it expressed was that women in this movie are used as props, which is completely accurate, but I think that's something I can't hate on 'cause, well, that's just the nature of the "story", which of course makes me feel uncomfortable at times but that's beside the point. The misogyny is so out of control that it's past the point of commenting on essentially.

What made me feel weird about it then? 

Honestly, it really just makes me sad to think about middle and low class Americans paying and sitting through this movie - and then loving it. THAT concerns me. THAT makes me feel fucking depressed and angry. After everything that's gone on in the States over the last decade and how so many people have been screwed for life by the likes of people like this man - that's what makes me feel uneasy.

Are we supposed to love this movie 'cause this guy didn't start out as a rich asshole? Are we supposed to be into it because he came from nothing and made himself into a rich asshole? I don't GET IT. People keep telling me how this movie is just "a good time", but I'm sorry that I can't see that. Others have said to me that "only men will like this movie" which enrages me for all kinds of reasons, obviously, but mostly because my major fucking issues with the movie aren't the scenes where he punches a woman or fucks everything with tits. My major issues are, crazily enough, way worse than that, in my opinion.

I definitely agree with some who say that the whole movie trivialized the seriousness of these kinds of crimes just in terms of not really ever fully explaining what was happening, and just sort of glazing over the general idea of him doing bad/illegal things. Obviously, it's a better story if those exact explanations of what happened are kept silent and glazed over because I would imagine hearing the details of exactly HOW he fucked people over financially would be kind of a downer to read about in a best seller - that makes sense. It's way more workable and profitable with only the women, drugs and NO MESSAGE WHATSOEVER because people will eat that shit up. And is there anything wrong with a debaucherous movie with no value at all? Course not. I fucking loved Meatballs. But in this case? Yeah. I can't. It hits too close to home with what's gone on in the past few years and what some Americans specifically have to financially deal with every day. Listen, I get what it's trying to be, I think. He was a good salesman, made a ton of money, fucked a lot of sex workers, had severe drug problems, and all of these things lead to the whole "antihero" mantra that comes across. I get it. 

I also think it's kind of interesting that if this man's life were the subject of a documentary, I feel like people would feel completely different about it and not so eager to declare this the best movie of the year or something. If the seriousness of these financial crimes were the focus of this story at all, I think it would hit people in such a stronger, more real way. Especially considering how many Americans have been financially fucked over by people like this BARELY FIVE YEARS AGO. It seems completely crazy to picture someone (who was financially affected by all that) going to see this movie because it's supposed to be "a fucking entertaining Scorsese movie" and coming out and having enjoyed it! And doesn't see a problem with that! THAT'S what's fucked to me. What if George Clooney were to play one of those Enron guys in an upcoming film - would we all fucking jack each other off in exhilaration of how crazy and exciting that story would be? C'mon, man.

No one seems to understand why some people should be really pissed about this movie. If I were to venture into a somewhat-crazy-conspiracy-theory level on you, I would say that the writers, producers and production company specifically went overboard on all the over-the-top machismo stuff in this movie on purpose since that's an obvious and clearly distinct distraction to negatively focus on (and exactly what the media has focused on in every negative review so far) while the actual wool that's being pulled over all our eyes is this atrocious public acceptance (and celebration) of these sincere economical crimes that have affected millions of people.

And if you're thinking, "Whoa. Calm down, Liz. It's just a movie." That's probably the worst thing you could say to me. It isn't just a movie. This is a real man's life and we all know that fact. Every fucking person who has seen this movie makes SURE to tell me "You know, THIS REALLY HAPPENED" usually with a big fucking smile on their face. Why are we not more angry that it's completely a true story? I don't know. I'm not mad about what happened in the movie. It's a crazy story that happened and should be told. I happen to think it's crazier that we are celebrating a man's life that embodies a great deal of the problems of American life. I don't think anyone can say what's art and what isn't because everything is. Calling this art doesn't bother me. Making me PAY for this movie angers me. Just made me feel like a chump, that's all. 

(Ugh, and as a sidenote: whenever someone tells me an actor is especially "good" in something, I silently groan to myself because I'm sorry, but acting isn't hard. It blows my mind that there are televised awards for actors and we all are supposed to give such heartfelt fucks to see who's gonna take home that award! Go fuck yourself. There's a real post about award shows coming up.)

It really sounds like I hated this movie, but I didn't. I think it's crazy fascinating that so many people love it as much as they do.

(P.S. Thank you to Marla for her recent use of the words 'antihero' and 'machismo' in an email rant about this movie (such perfect usage of those words) and also some thoughts of hers that I completely agree with and had to corroborate. I love you for all of your hateful/smart musings, even the ones that I didn't feel as strongly about as you. You're the best.)