A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Illegal financial activities lead to serious and devastating consequences.
Positive Role Models
Madoff doesn't take responsibility for his actions.
Violence & Scariness
Arguing, yelling, threats. Suicide occurs; a body is shown hanging from a ceiling.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Crude sexual conversations; words such as "p---y," "c--k."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drinking (cocktails, wine, beer); cigarette, cigar smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Wizard of Lies contains mature themes, ranging from illegal investment activities and public shaming to suicide (including a man visibly hanging from the ceiling). Cursing is frequent, drinking is visible, and cigarette and cigar smoking is shown. There's some strong sexual innuendo and crude references, too. Younger viewers probably won't be interested, but those old enough to remember the Bernie Madoff scandal may find it an interesting watch. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This dark and dramatic film paints an unsympathetic picture of Bernie Madoff, who displays a lack of guilt about, and an emotional disconnection from, the pain and destruction his actions caused. It also reveals how Madoff seemed oblivious to how this would affect his own loved ones, especially his wife and kids. It also shows how he justifies using his brother Peter (Michael Kostroff) and his chief financial officer Frank DiPascali (Frank Azaria) to unknowingly keep the scheme going. It also underscores how little responsibility Madoff takes for what he knew he was doing to his investors.
Much of The Wizard of Lies focuses on how the financier's actions broke his family apart, the devastation of which ultimately led to his son's suicide. But the narrative feels uneven, thanks to scenes consisting of vague interpretations of how investors were conned, to some overly dramatic moments. Nonetheless, Robert De Niro's interpretation of Madoff is convincing. The inclusion of archival media coverage of the events and the appearance of Diana B. Henriques playing herself give the overall story presentation a sense of legitimacy.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.