Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps Movie Poster Image
Heavy-themed remake not as edgy as original.
  • PG-13
  • 2010
  • 127 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 9 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The movie's messages are timeless -- that money can make you temporarily happy, but in the end it's your family that is most important. If you have money and power, but no one to love -- no one who even cares enough about you to pick you up from prison -- then your priorities aren't in order.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Gordon Gekko seems like a reformed man who can predict the economic crisis but isn't powerful enough to do anything about it. He's still a compelling character, because even as a "has been" he can still see the game for what it is. Despite being a successful Wall Street money maker, Jake is quite loyal to his mentor and idealistic about the green company he champions throughout the film. Winnie is a strong role model because she sticks to her values the entire story. She doesn't use her father's money, and she doesn't "sell out" when given the chance.


An elderly man jumps in front of a subway train to commit suicide.


A couple lives together and is shown kissing in bed (he's shirtless, she wears a nightdress). The couple kisses and embraces several times but is never shown having sex. Several scantily clad women are shown in a couple of nightclub scenes.


Language includes a couple of uses of "f--k," as well as "s--t," "ass," "bitch," "a--hole," "damn," "hell," "crap," "goddamn," "oh my God," and the like.


Brands include Apple, Ducati, Bulgari, and quick shots of various high-end luxury stores and items.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Lots of drinking and cigar smoking among the Wall Street brokers and executives. References to a drug overdose.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this Wall Street drama is not R-rated like the original, probably so that star Shia LaBeouf's considerable teen appeal can have maximum impact. The themes, however, are still just as heavy: money, the global economy, politics, family dysfunction. The language is strong (including "f--k"), and there's plenty of consumerism, but the sexuality is tamer than in the first. Ultimately the message is that although money makes the world go round, you need your family more than a seven-figure bank account.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byjoshua martinez January 19, 2011
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is a average drama movie about money and family and parents you need to know that Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps has some stron... Continue reading
Parent of a 11-year-old Written byBensmom99 September 30, 2010
Teen, 14 years old Written byClorox bleach January 10, 2021

Stocks movie

Kids under 11 will probably be bored with this movie like the first Wall Street movie. I liked it though.
Teen, 14 years old Written byStevie111 March 20, 2012

What's the story?

In 2008, Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) is an ex-con on the book-tour circuit talking about his lessons learned in prison and how much the global economy has changed (or in some cases, hasn't). His estranged daughter, Winnie (Carey Mulligan), is a liberal website editor who lives with her up-and-coming fiance, Wall Street trader Jake Moore (Shia LaBeouf). After a rumor-driven financial crisis forces Jake's boss and mentor, Lou Zabel (Frank Langella), to sell his company at a devastating loss, Lou throws himself in front of a subway train, leaving Jake without a father figure and hungry for revenge. Jake seeks out Gordon for counsel, who "trades" information about who he thinks caused the firm's investment crisis -- and ultimately Lou's suicide -- for a chance to reunite with Winnie. Gordon tips off Jake that Bretton James (Josh Brolin), a powerful hedge-fund manager, is at the bottom of the Zabel fiasco, so Jake tries to orchestrate a father-daughter reunion. Jake ends up working for Bretton, whom he distrusts, and Winnie continues to alienate Gordon, until the subprime mortgage bubble bursts, causing all sorts of climactic changes.

Is it any good?

The bottom line is that this sequel was wholly unnecessary. The original Wall Street, and Douglas' character specifically, became a generational milestone, the sort of movie that people quote decades years later. In this sequel, director Oliver Stone creates a much less compelling and much more sentimental story about how the nature of greed has changed in a couple of decades. All of the performances are good, but not remarkable. LaBeouf is believable as a smart and decent moneyman, and Mulligan dons an American accent beautifully to play a young woman who pretends she's past her family's tragedies and dysfunction. For a movie where Douglas receives top billing, he is once again in the film less than his younger co-star, this time LaBeouf (although Charlie Sheen's whistle-blower Bud Fox does make a short but amusing appearance).

Even though we're a consumerist culture, we're not obsessed with money in the same way we were in the '80s. This movie's messages are something every sitcom and romcom explore -- the balance between work and family; the fact that we should work to live, not live to work. We're now in the Eat, Pray, Love generation of finding meaning, finding ourselves, not finding the next big windfall. The story should've been tightened up to less than two hours (it feels overlong at 127 minutes). The brightest spots are the narcissistic hedge-fund manager played by Brolin, whose character oozes with ego, and his boss, an eccentric Wall Street legend played by 95-year-old Eli Wallach. This money-themed sequel is worth seeing, but it's not nearly as memorable a time investment as the original.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the movie's messages about greed and materialism. What does Gordon mean when he says "greed is legal" now? Why is Breton's number "more"? In the end, do Jake and Winnie care more about money or their family?

  • What kinds of consumer products were featured in this movie? How does the movie's anti-consumer message merge with the product placements and celebration of wealth seen in the film?

  • How does Gordon change in this story? Is he still as greedy and manipulative by the end of the film as he is at the beginning?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love dramas

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