Parents' Guide to

The Wizard of Lies

By Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Dark and dramatic biopic profiles Madoff and his crimes.

Movie NR 2017 133 minutes
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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.

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