Caroline Friday

Caroline Friday is a novelist and award winning screenwriter with several film projects in development for both television and theatrical distribution. She is also a 2008 Kairos Screenwriting Winner for spiritually uplifting screenplays, sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation. Caroline currently serves as EVP of Sixth Day Media, LLC, a film finance and production company headquartered in the Atlanta area. She lives in Marietta, Georgia, with her husband and three children and can be found at

At The Movies

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

Wall StreetIn Oliver Stone’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Michael Douglas reprises his 1987 Oscar-winning role as the evil corporate raider/inside trader Gordon Gekko. This certainly isn’t an inspirational movie for the discerning Christian viewer, but because of its commentary on the dangers and trappings of money, I thought I would recommend it.

(Spoiler Alert!)

Gekko is a fascinating character who keeps the viewer guessing, wondering if there might be a smidgen of good in his soul somewhere. And just when you think he might be a well-meaning, misunderstood capitalist, he proves that he is evil to the core. I believe this element of the original movie is what made the story so much fun. The sequel isn’t quite as thrilling, but it does give a good perspective on how excessive money can literally bring the devil out in a person.

The movie opens with Gekko’s release from prison after serving eight years for insider trading and mail fraud. With a hundred dollars in his pocket and a few trinkets from the past, he catches a cab into New York City—alone, with no one to greet him. Flash forward seven years later, and we meet his lovely daughter, Winnie (Carey Mulligan), who is dating our protagonist, Jake Moore (Shia Lebouf), who has a job on Wall Street with a high-powered investment banking firm.

While Winnie wants nothing to do with her father, Jake is intrigued and secretly attends a lecture where Gekko touts his new book, Is Greed Good? The dialogue is excellent, and in about five minutes, Gekko (and Oliver Stone, one of the screenwriters) proceeds to tell the moviegoer exactly what is wrong with the American economy. His mantra is that all of our financial woes stem from one thing: personal greed. Ironic, coming from a greedy corporate thief.

Because of the fast-paced dialogue and complicated plot, I had to stop the DVD several times and confer with my financier husband to get a grip on the story. Regardless, the filmmakers did a very good job of describing how the financial crash in the fall of 2009 came about, which made for an intriguing story. Jake’s firm is hit hard by the crisis, needing a bailout or else it will go bankrupt. As a result, Jake’s mentor, the head of the firm (played by Frank Langella), commits suicide.

When Jake learns from Gekko that a competing firm was behind the demise, he sets out for revenge against its managing partner, Brettan James (Josh Brolin). With Gekko’s help in

manipulating the market, Jake takes down the competing firm but risks losing Winnie in the process. I felt like I was watching a Western drama, but instead of cowboys with guns and knives, this was a war of investment bankers using speculation, rumor, and the stock market to make their point.

The movie does an excellent job of showing an immediate, instantaneous change that can happen in a person when great wealth comes their way. Jake becomes a different person with different desires and motivations when he discovers that Gekko has stashed a hundred million dollars in a Swiss bank account in Winnie’s name. She wants nothing to do with the money, but Jake sees things differently. He views her fortune as a means to invest in new energy technology, which could bring them even more money and power, thus fulfilling his newfound lust for greed.

Despite having access to Winnie’s millions, Jake follows Gekko on a dangerous ride down the road of greed to a place where wealth surpasses what the normal man can comprehend. Here the story takes an abrupt turn, and Gekko proves to Jake that greed isn’t really about money after all—it’s about playing the game and beating out the other guy, regardless of who gets in the way. Is your skin crawling? Mine was.

There is a great line in the film where Jake asks James how much money would be enough for him to be satisfied in life—an exact dollar amount. James hesitates for a moment, smiles, and answers, “More.” This is a profound statement that is based on spiritual truth: there can never, ever be enough money or worldly possessions that will satisfy mankind. Ecclesiastes 3:11 instructs that God has set eternity in the hearts of men, and it can only be filled with Jesus Christ. Money pushes, demands, hurts and leaves one empty and lonely, just like Gordon Gekko.

I wouldn’t recommend this movie as solid family entertainment, but it could be used as a lesson to young, impressionable capitalists who believe money will make them happy. God has no problem with His children being financially prosperous; the problem is what it can do to them if they are like Jake and are ill prepared to handle wealth. I liken dumping a hundred million dollars in the lap of most Christians to giving a five-year-old child the keys to a brand-new Mercedes-Benz.

Watch this movie if you want some fun entertainment, or if you’re feeling a little jealous of the billionaire club and want to appreciate the wonderful gift God has given you in knowing Him and His son, Jesus Christ. All of us who have the peace in knowing Jesus are wealthy beyond anything man can think or imagine!