Reflections on The Wolf of Wall Street (Minor plot spoilers)

My boyfriend says I get too “emotionally involved” in movies. Maybe that’s because I screamed in the theater during The Woman in Black. Or because of the time I sobbed audibly during The Holiday. (That couldn’t be why, could it?)

I literally cried my eyes out. Curse you, Drew Barrymore, for going to London and meeting the man of your dreams.

I’ll admit, I get pretty into movies. I always find myself imagining what it would be like to be in the character’s place, having the feelings they’re feeling. This is why I usually refuse to watch movies that involve scary things like kidnapping and stick to the warm fuzzy feelings of rom-coms instead.

Usually, it’s a little bit of a stretch to imagine myself as a 40-year-old overworked housewife looking for a better lover or as some other archetypal movie character. But I recently went and saw The Wolf Of Wall Street, and it upset me not because of the nudity or the language, but because as a business student, it hit dangerously close to home.

I want to preface this by saying that I have no ambitions of being on Wall Street, and I won’t be taking up cocaine use anytime soon. In other words, I don’t think that I’m destined to be the next Jordan Belfort. But watching the movie made me think about my life and what kind of businesswoman I want to be.

You want to be me? Yeah, you and the rest of Wharton!

I never want my money to come between me and my relationships with others. I was heartbroken when Jordan (Leo) was caught by his wife with another woman, and crushed when he lost custody of his kids after driving while high and crashing a car with his daughter in the front seat. The Wolf of Wall Street was a profound display of what it looks like to have money form a divide between you and the people you care about most. I thought of my family, my boyfriend, and my friends, and tried to imagine what it would be like to have lost them all, to hurt that many people. It’s hard to even conceive.

I hope to never become consumed by materialism. My goal is to someday make enough money to live a comfortable life and provide that for my family, but I would never want to become so wealthy that money becomes meaningless. There are so many around the world for which money is a precious resource, I hope never to become so wealthy that I have forgotten the virtue of gratitude. I enjoy the finer things in life, but it makes me sick to imagine throwing hundred dollar bills off of the edge of my 150-foot yacht just for fun (as seen in the movie).

Seeing as my school is full of future Wall Street bankers and business leaders, I think watching this movie should be mandatory. It’s easy to say what our priorities are, and that we’ll prioritize things correctly, but when we get in the real world, it’s much harder to make those decisions daily. That’s why I think it’s important that college students – myself included – take some time to think about where we draw the line in the sand when it comes to the issue of money. Because, after all, if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything, especially when it can buy you a mansion.

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