Over the past few years, we’ve seen a number of movies set at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. This makes sense, given just how much happened during that time in history. The latest of these projects is director Craig Gillespie’s upcoming biographical dramedy Dumb Money, which is about the infamous WallStreetBets GameStop scandal. The movie’s cast is unreal, and actually made me interested in the stock market after being clueless about how that system works.
The Toronto International Film Festival is currently underway, and Dumb Money is one of the many upcoming projects that got its world premiere this year. The movie’s title refers to amateur traders who can sometimes lose their money to major money managers and hedge funds. The true story revolves around a reddit page titled r/WallStreetBets, which united in 2021 to purchase stocks at GameStop and squeeze hedge fund companies.
While this might seem like an odd choice for a movie, the script by Lauren Schuker Blum and Rebecca Angelo makes it a much more human story. This is done through a large ensemble cast, putting a face to the power players in the infamous controversy, as well as some of the everyday people who were galvanized by r/WallStreetBets and bought and held stocks in order to make money and stick it to the billionaires running the hedge funds. A bonafide class war happened as a result, highlighting the wealth disparity in the country.
I have to admit that I was a little bit lost in the first 15 minutes or so of Dumb Money, mostly because I wasn’t familiar with the GameStop stock controversy from 2021. But the movie’s script provided enough exposition that I was eventually able to catch on. In the meantime, I instead focused on the large ensemble cast of characters, some of which were playing very real figures.
Paul Dano plays protagonist Keith Gill aka Roaring Kitty, the man behind the financial revolution surrounding GameStop’s stocks. It seems like a great impression of the real life figure, whose footage is revealed in the movie’s final moments. Big Little Lies’ Shailene Woodley plays his wife Caroline, and is arguably the heart of the movie. Pete Davidson plays his brother, and is unsurprisingly a scene stealer. And fresh off her iconic Barbie monologue, America Ferrera also shines as one of the casual traders who gets involved in the movement. More familiar faces include Hamilton’s Anthony Ramos, Seth Rogen, Nick Offerman, Vincent D’Onofrio and Shondaland favorite Kate Burton. It’s remarkable that this ensemble cast was assembled, with each and every performance delivering and helping to make Dumb Money such a great moviegoing experience.
Of course, Craig Gillespie’s direction also deserves a great deal of praise. Dumb Money’s 104-minute runtime flies by, thanks to excellent pacing, and strong edit. The movie’s soundtrack also perfectly captured the time period of the movie, including tracks like Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage” and Kendrick Lamar’s “HUMBLE.” The use of real-life news reports about WallStreetBets and TikToks /social media posts from the time also helped to make the movie consistently fascinating, despite how little I knew about the subject matter ahead of time.
Luckily for moviegoers not attending TIFF, Dumb Money will get its wide theatrical release shortly on September 15th. In the meantime, check out the 2023 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience.