Parents' Guide to

The Laundromat

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Soderbergh's mature tax-avoidance tutorial is eye-opening.

Movie R 2019 95 minutes
The Laundromat Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 16+

Untraditional narrative offers a scathing exposure of financial greed

A fantastic black comedy by Soderbergh. Oldman and Banderas are having a great time: part Dirty Rotten Scoundrels part Michael Moore is a ride of a film. Streep is spot on, per usual. The pieces can feel disparate but I think the through line of how greed affects those with less financial power and how elusive financial power is allows the film to come together and makes it entertaining to see how much we are all being screwed over financially.
age 18+

Boring story. Graphic pornography scene with 2 women.

Meryl Streep is always a class act which is why seeing her in this movie may surprise some. There is one pornographic scene involving 2 women - fully nude. This was gratuitous and cheapened the movie.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (1 ):

Steven Soderbergh's effort to educate viewers on important but dry matters of money manipulation is depressing, but it's not without purpose. The film directs viewers to stand up and take action, pointing out how laws have been changed to make tax avoidance easier by those who can afford a wealth management team. It's informative, explaining straight to the camera the origins of money, credit, and where it all goes askew. That said, it's hard to imagine most teens getting excited to be educated by a movie about financial manipulation and tax laws.

Unlike similarly themed movies The Wolf of Wall Street and The Big Short, The Laundromat isn't shockingly funny. But, like those films, the story is told from the perpetrators' point of view. They explain what happened while also shirking responsibility and pointing fingers at others. Clients find that their bad behavior has put them into a precarious position. They defend their solutions with arguments that adults may recognize don't hold water -- but to younger, more impressionable minds, those arguments may sound sensible. The cast is full of award winners and familiar faces, to the point that counting up the cameos is its own joy. The Laundromat isn't the zippiest film of its sort, but, for knowledge seekers, it's an entertaining way to understand money laundering at the highest level. It drives home how the rich and powerful are using loopholes and legal manipulations to avoid paying taxes, leaving the poor and middle class holding the bag.

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