FILM

Equity
By Anna Pavey With on February 10, 2016

Most reviews of the film Equity begin with a description along the lines of this… EQUITY, the first female-driven Wall Street film, follows a senior investment banker who is threatened by a financial scandal and must untangle a web of corruption. Starring Anna Gunn, James Purefoy and Sarah Megan Thomas, this movie is a story about women, power, and corruption. Producer and actress Alysia Reiner said, “We wanted to find a subject that no one had looked at. We saw the opportunity to make a female Wall Street movie, post-economic crisis, about social media, which is very different from real commodities, and we hope that the movie can help move the needle to create change in the workforce.” (http://nypost.com/2016/01/17/new-film-equity-portrays-female-driven-wall-street/) While these reviews are true, the film is about much more than that. Equity follows the lives of three women – Naomi (Gunn), Erin (Thomas), and Samantha (Reiner). Each trying to make a name for themselves in their careers. Each somehow intersecting with the other. They are not friends; they are the competition. This film grapples with challenges unique to women such as glass ceilings, the challenges of having a baby and being an executive, sexuality and client relations. And it overlays these gender-specific elements on to the use of corruption to get ahead, greed, and power. At one point, the boyfriend of Naomi steals insider information to sabotage her IPO. When she finds out and confronts him, he shrugs it off and says it’s just a game. Her former boss and mentor also gave the same impression that her big concerns about successful business just didn’t matter. The flippant attitude of these men represents the ease with which they are able to reach high positions of corporate success even with occasional failures. This film underscores that when women are so desperate to get ahead they will go to extreme measures to beat the system. These women feel like they have no margin to fail. In the end, Naomi decides to walk away from it all. The irony is that Erin (who was part of the corruption causing her departure) becomes her replacement. In addition to examining the inner workings of Wall Street, Equity leads the audience to ponder deeper issues of integrity and justice. Does an unjust system justify unjust behavior? If the system is corrupt, does that justify corrupt behavior? Which character won in the end? Was it Naomi for “saving herself” and walking away? Or was it Erin for getting a promotion despite her corrupt behavior? We are caused to wonder whether women are actually losing their souls in an effort to become “somebody”. Whether striving to find meaning within a broken system will we ever lead to happiness.

About the Author: Anna Pavey
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