Wait, wait, wait, let me get this straight, Hollywood allowed a movie to be made about Wall Street, written and directed by and starring WOMEN??? Well, is Equity any good?
The film focuses on Naomi Bishop (Anna Gunn), a no-nonsense investment banker that specializes in taking companies public. She is one hundred percent an independent woman, telling her current lover, Michael (James Purefoy), that he never married her because men like a woman who needs them and Naomi doesn’t need anyone. However, the glass ceiling still exists and Naomi is constantly road-blocked on her pursuit of a partnership at her firm. Naomi’s college friend, Samantha (Alysia Reiner), is a lawyer that once worked in narcotics, but is now investigating Wall Street. Specifically, she’s investigating Michael for insider trading. Meanwhile, Naomi’s assistant/protégé, Erin (Sarah Megan Thomas), is looking to move up the corporate ladder, but she finds out that in order to get ahead in business, you can’t necessarily have it all in both home and work life. She also finds that using her sexuality may not be the best way to get ahead, so she resorts to other means. All these events center on taking an internet security company public as they wade into the arena of social media. Who will win and lose in this high stakes game?
Everywhere I look, I keep seeing Equity referred to as a “thriller,” but while it is definitely a good story with double-crosses and the like, I never felt anyone was in any mortal danger, which I feel is a major qualifier for thriller status. That being said, the movie is very good with a highly engaging story, as long as you can keep all the Wall Street jargon straight. The film was directed by Meera Menon with a screenplay by Amy Fox. Fox and actresses Reiner and Thomas all contributed to the story and it was refreshing to see a film in this particular setting told from a female point of view. To be honest, though, these ladies almost did their job too well. The film is very tight and focused on plot, but by the end, I felt like I could have used a little more character development and breathing room for some scenes. I definitely thought that Reiner’s character needed a bit more work, especially with where she ends up at the conclusion. Aside from that, the film was very entertaining.
All the performances here are good, with Gunn taking command of the film. She is great as Naomi. She takes no prisoners, but there is a vulnerability there that is essential to her character. Reiner is good as Samantha, but as I mentioned above, she feels a little underwritten. Thomas is also really good as Erin. You go through a range of emotions with her throughout the film and you may not be sure how to feel about her by the end of it. Purefoy captures the slithery Michael perfectly. You’re never completely sure of his loyalties, which makes him a great character for a film like this. Lee Tergesen also shows up as Naomi’s boss and their scenes together are very good. But the ladies are the real stars here and they all a really good job overall. Female leads – what a concept!
Overall, Equity is a very solid film and an enjoyable way to spend two hours. It was nice to see a film written, directed by, and starring women that wasn’t a “chick flick.” It’s a film that should appeal to all moviegoers regardless of who the leads are. We need more of this in Hollywood.