Greed

Movie review by
Kat Halstead, Common Sense Media
Greed Movie Poster Image
Lowbrow satire of the mega-rich has swearing, drugs.
  • R
  • 2020
  • 104 minutes

Parents say

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Kids say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Themes of greed, wealth, excess are central, though the comedy doesn't skewer hard enough to make a point, and comeuppance comes very late. Statistics about realities of third-world factories, refugees, and sexism are hard-hitting and poignant but don't really do much other than mop up for a film without a clear message.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Lead character cheats, gambles, manipulates his way to the top, bullies and belittles those around him. Some characters disapprove of his behavior, but most are happy to profit from it. One employee shows signs of a conscience but later commits a terrible act of her own. Prejudice against Syrian refugees, racist jokes about Bulgarian workforce, women are often treated as trophies.

Violence

A lion mauls a man to death; lots of blood and detached limbs. Mention of death -- both a father and mother -- and scenes involving funerals. A fire in a factory results in off-screen deaths; covered bodies are carried out on stretchers. Refugees are treated badly and seen scared and crying. A school child is spanked with a cane. Brief fight with punches thrown. Abortion is referenced in a joke.

Sex

Kissing, straddling, mention of erectile issues, implied talk of oral sex, jokes about sexual harassment and sex with a minor.

Language

Extremely frequent/strong language includes "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," "bloody," "ass," "twat," "bugger," "git," "a--hole," "bellend," "pr--k," and "c--t."

Consumerism

Film centers on fashion industry and mentions brands including Zara and H&M, as well as many fictional brands. Capitalism is at heart of the film; characters value wealth and glamour above all else. Celebrities are discussed in terms of value. It's implied that anything can be bought -- from mega-yachts to beautiful views.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink champagne and wine regularly, though they're never seen to be drunk. Drugs are mentioned -- including cocaine, crack, ecstasy, MDMA -- and cocaine is used, as well as fed to an animal.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Greed is a comedy about a mega-rich retail mogul (Steve Coogan) who's made billions in the fashion industry by cheating and exploiting others. He's often abusive to those around him, and his lifestyle of luxury and excess is played for laughs, though the jokes often don't land. There are scenes of gambling, drinking, and drug use, as well as extremely strong language (including "f--k" and "c--t") throughout. Death is mentioned several times, and covered dead bodies are seen after a factory fire. There's also a gory scene of a man getting mauled to death by a lion. Expect kissing, straddling, and plenty of sexual references, though no actual sex is depicted on screen. Humor is often in poor taste, touching on issues including abortion, sexual harassment, and child abuse. Women are objectified, refugees are made the butt of jokes, and there are racist jokes about the Bulgarian workforce.

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User Reviews

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  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Teen, 14 years old Written byClorox bleach May 20, 2020

Not that good of a movie

Wasn't really good in my opinion
Teen, 13 years old Written bySnowboy May 15, 2020

Not a must-watch, but a pretty good movie

The movie is about a billionaire who throws himself a party on his yacht. The movies has tons of language, but nothing a middle school kid wouldn't hear at... Continue reading

What's the story?

In GREED, fashion billionaire Sir Richard McCreadie (Steve Coogan) is preparing for his 60th birthday party, which he hopes will repair his reputation following a damaging public inquiry into his iffy business practices. The film cuts between scenes of his first hustles as a teenager, the inquiry, exploited workers in Sri Lankan textile factories, and present-day preparations for the big event at a luxury Mykonos hotel. Sir Richard's ex-wife, Samantha (Isla Fisher), is present with her new partner, as is McCreadie's latest trophy girlfriend, his two children -- reality show-wannabe daughter Lily (Sophie Cookson) and distant son full of Oedipal resentment Finn (Asa Butterfield) -- and his biographer, Nick (David Mitchell). As refugees on the local beach, a half-finished Roman-style gladiator arena, a listless lion, and a run of celebrity dropouts threaten to ruin the big party, it's actually rumblings from within the McCreadie empire that could end up being Sir Richard's undoing. 

Is it any good?

The latest collaboration between Coogan and director Michael Winterbottom is starting to look a little tired. (The duo previously worked together on such successes as The Trip and 24 Hour Party People.) While pop culture references abound, jokes about James Blunt, Gary Glitter, and reality TV only serve to make the film feel dated, despite its poignant subject matter, which couldn't be more timely. The comedy reaches far and wide and will no doubt elicit some easy laughs, yet it doesn't challenge viewers in the way it could. And the satire suffers from a lack of focus and finesse that leaves it in danger of missing the mark, even with "extra material" from Veep/The Thick Of It writer Sean Gray.

Coogan is as watchable as ever, and fans will enjoy the BAFTA-winning actor's latest character: Sir Richard is the physical embodiment of the Greek term "hubris," existing in a world of many classic references that can point only toward tragedy. Cameos from Ben Stiller to Stephen Fry bolster the party scene, and Fisher is great as the smart ex-wife who's fully aware of the intricacies (and legalities) of the business model that led to their success. Yet, despite the honorable intentions of picking apart the soulless retail billionaire and drawing attention to the dire inequalities to which so many continue to turn a blind eye, Greed never quite makes it clear what it's saying. Until, that is, the very end, when bleak statistics fill the screen, revealing that 80% of garment workers are women, that nine out of 10 billionaires are men, and that 17,000 refugees drowned crossing the Mediterranean in search of safety. It's sobering and important stuff. It's just a shame it feels so detached from the narrative.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about McCreadie's vast wealth. Do you think any one person should have that much money to spend on themselves?

  • How did the scenes in the Sri Lankan factories make you feel? Do you think it's OK to make money by exploiting others?

  • Which characters in Greed had admirable qualities? Would you consider any of them role models? Do you think anyone other than McCreadie had a responsibility to act differently?

  • Discuss the ending. Do you think it was fair? What other ways might there be to hold the characters accountable?

  • How are drinking and drug use portrayed? Are they glamorized? Are there realistic consequences? Why does that matter?

Movie details

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