Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Equity Movie Poster Image
Fine acting elevates female-driven drama about finance.
  • R
  • 2016
  • 100 minutes

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Though it might not always feel that way, your job shouldn't define you. Also, ethics and integrity are extremely important. It can be challenging for women to make their mark in male-dominated fields, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't keep trying.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Naomi is determined, even in the face of a very thick glass ceiling. Samantha is dogged and determined to catch those who hurt not only the economy, but also the investors.


Some yelling and screaming. A man propositions a woman who's clearly put off by him, and he keeps ignoring the signals. 


Couples are shown kissing and starting to become intimate. No outright nudity, but it's clear what's about to happen. 


Fairly frequent strong language includes "s--t," "f--k," "hell," "prick," "WTF," etc.


Lots of labels/products spotted, especially to denote certain kinds of financial success: Sony, BlackBerry, Jenga, Bloomberg, Utz, Snapchat, MacBook, Apple, Facebook, iPhone, Microsoft, Titleist, and more. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Frequent drinking (by adults) in social settings, as well as at home after a stressful day at work. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Equity is a taut, intense drama about two women -- one in the banking industry, the other the prosecutor tasked with investigating that very industry -- struggling to make their mark in male-dominated fields. It's a cutthroat journey, and some scenes feature sharky, manipulative moves and betrayals that might be a little too intense for younger viewers, but integrity and the importance of ethics are also strong themes. Expect plenty of swearing (including "s--t" and "f-ck), social drinking, and kissing/intimate moments (though no nudity).

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What's the story?

In EQUITY, Naomi Bishop (Anna Gunn) is a steely investment banker who's been passed over once again for a key promotion. This time it happens the eve of a major pitch for a tech company, Cachet, whose IPO she's hoping to lead. But she still aces the pitch with the help of her assistant, Erin Manning (Sarah Megan Thomas), who also wants to move up the ladder and thinks Naomi is keeping her from doing so. Add to that roiling brew a former classmate of Naomi's, Samantha Ryan (Alysia Reiner), who's now a prosecutor investigating improprieties at banks and securities companies. And Naomi's relationship with a broker at her company, Michael Connor (James Purefoy), is complicating things, too, as he tries to sniff out the opportunities in Cachet's IPO.

Is it any good?

This drama is neither subtle nor perfect, but there's much that recommends it, starting with Gunn's electrifying performance. The Breaking Bad actress blends a potent mix of edge, assertiveness, and fear. And, really, the whole ensemble is great, if not all quite as charismatic as Gunn. The story itself is fascinating, too.

But Equity's Achilles heel is how it stays fairly close to the surface; though we glimpse the reasons and motivations behind each character's decisions (good or bad), we don't get very deep. And what appears revealing feels painted with a not-so-fine brush, with nuance shunted aside for expediency in storytelling. A little more subtlety and character exploration could have elevated the film to a memorable finish.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the banking industry is portrayed in Equity. Does it seem welcoming to women? What kind of challenges do women in the industry face? How does the film show these challenges? Do they seem realistic?

  • How does the film demonstrate the importance of integrity? Why is that a key character strength?

  • What is the movie saying about the role of female friendships, if any, for successful women? 

  • Does the film support or undermine caricature and stereotypes? Or both? Which characters do you consider role models, and why?

Movie details

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