Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps Wakes Up

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps opened over the weekend, and I actually ventured into a movie theater to see it, something that rarely happens these days. It wasn’t that I had been such a big fan of its precursor. In fact, I barely remembered much of it. So to prepare for the viewing, I first borrowed Wall Street from the library.

If money never sleeps in its sequel, then I surely did during Wall Street. I can’t blame that all on the movie, though. There aren’t many that I make it through when settled into the couch. That being said, I urge you to watch it again, if for no other reason than to chortle at the “wireless” phones that are the size of traffic lights and to enjoy one of the greatest movie lines ever – - no, not  “Greed is good” but “Lunch is for wimps.”

When the original was released in 1987, it was a blockbuster that portrayed a culture of excess and the insider scandals of the time. How quaint that all seems now. In Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,we’re treated to the tale of Gordon Gekko’s post-prison years set against a fictionalized account of the 2008 financial crisis.

Times have changed our perspectives on market events, and so has Oliver Stone’s depiction of women in this movie. In the first movie, we glimpse what we may suppose is a woman trader while the other female trading floor occupants seem to be clerical assistants and secretaries. The arm candy character played by Darryl Hannah, an interior decorator, is as similarly animated by money as Gekko. We don’t know much about Gekko’s wife other than that she seems to enjoy her posh, presumably Hamptons home, and fancy attire.

In the sequel, the women in the personal spheres of Gekko and his future son-in-law are more interesting. Gekko’s daughter is a strong minded political blogger who stands up to her father. Her boyfriend’s mother, no model of perfection and independence, is a former nurse turned real estate speculator turned nurse again. In the glitzy world of benefit galas, Stone seems to have a fixation on the jeweled earlobes of society doyennes. We get it, money buys status and these ladies are presumably no more immune to ostentatious displays of wealth than their male counterparts. Within the financial industry, we see more professional women. The trading floor has become more diverse. Women and minorities go about their business and there’s even a female member of the Federal Reserve Board. True, none of these women seem to break through the male clubbiness of Wall Street or wield power equally, and they, too, have character flaws. In other words, Stone seems to have gotten it right.

Another thing- I stayed awake through this one.

This post was originally published Sept. 27, 2010 on Pettistripes, my blog that explores topics of women and finance-past, present, and future. Check out more by following  on Facebook and Twitter or at its site!


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