A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
Positive Role Models & Representations
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Wolf of Wall Street is based on the true story of a financial broker who bent the rules, became enormously wealthy, and was not caught for years. He lives a life of debauchery and excess, cheating on his wife, remarrying, and cheating on his new wife with an endless array of prostitutes. Many characters are shown having graphic sex of all types. The main character uses every kind of drug under the sun, but especially prefers Quaaludes; the movie spends extra time on the effects of this drug. A secondary character is also a heavy drug user. Language is very strong and constant, with "f--k" uttered nearly constantly, as well as almost every other vulgar word in the book. As for violence, there's mostly enraged shouting, but there's a bloody face-bashing scene, some domestic violence where a wife gets punched a couple of times, and a quick shot of a (very tangential) bloody suicide. The legendary Martin Scorsese's the director, and most movie buffs will want to see this, but as with GoodFellas and Casino, this one's not recommended for kids of any age.
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The Wolf of Wall Street is the only movie I have ever walked out on in my entire life. The film is nothing but a nonstop orgy of sex and drugs. It is not only t... Continue reading
What's the story?
Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) starts his thrilling new job as a Wall Street broker on Monday, Oct. 19, 1987, when one of the biggest market crashes in history occurred. After that he's forced to take a job dealing in "penny stocks," trading semi-worthless stocks, but for 50 percent commissions. Teaming up with a neighbor, Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill), he takes this idea and opens his own firm, employing high-pressure sales tactics and shady techniques to earn huge piles of cash. The money comes rolling in, and life becomes fast and exciting. Jordan also turns to alcohol, prostitutes, and drugs (especially cocaine and Quaaludes), as the company grows larger. But how long can this supercharged lifestyle last?
Is it any good?
Director Martin Scorsese, assisted by his longtime editor Thelma Schoonmaker, keeps up an astoundingly intoxicating pace for nearly three hours. He draws on his previous movies GoodFellas and Casino for the template of THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, packing in many outrageous details behind a criminal organization over an epic running time. A huge cast, including perhaps most memorably Matthew McConaughey, helps out with small, potent performances.
The difference here is that The Wolf of Wall Street may be the funniest movie Scorsese has ever made. Every few minutes it hurls something so shocking and high-spirited that laughter can be the only response. Yet the movie's monstrous energy seems to be fueled by something both exciting and rotten. Leonardo DiCaprio gives a true heavyweight performance, laced with contempt, and he's never truly redeemed. Rather, Scorsese ends his movie on a scene that illustrates the pitfalls of desire, and how it can never be entirely fulfilled.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Families can talk about the movie's extensive use of sex. Does any of it come from a loving, respectful relationship? How do women fare in this movie and in these sexual relationships?
- What's the appeal of a character with such questionable morals? Martin Scorsese often makes movies about these kinds of characters. Why is he so highly respected and acclaimed?
- In theaters: December 25, 2013
- On DVD or streaming: March 25, 2014
- Cast: Jonah Hill, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matthew McConaughey
- Director: Martin Scorsese
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: History
- Run time: 180 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: sequences of strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language throughout, and for some violence
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