Rating: 3.5 / 5
Equity takes us to the world of the movers and shakers in the American Holy Grail of finance—Wall Street.
Had this film been made a few decades ago, its protagonists would have been all males. The difference with this film is that the three leads are female, with males taking supporting roles.
And that’s a deliberate strategy on the part of the producers, two of whom are also lead actors.
Naomi Bishop (Anna Gunn) is a successful Wall Street investment banker, fighting to rise to the top of the Wall Street corporate ladder. Her high stakes job is as a specialist who develops Silicon Valley technology start-ups into big success stories through their initial public offering (IPO).
While Naomi’s mostly glittering track record is impressive, she overshot the mark in her last project, creating an industry perception that she mishandled the IPO process and overestimated its value. While this might have been forgiven as a minor glitch had she been a man, as a woman it is enough to put a significant roadblock in securing her next promotion.
Naomi’s assistant, Erin (Sarah Megan Thomas) is on the lookout for her own future and loyalty exists only when convenient. Thomas is one of the film’s co-producers and writers, along with the third female lead Samantha, Naomi’s friend from college days, played by Alysia Reiner. The final member of the screenplay trio is writer Amy Fox, and Equity is directed by Meera Menon.
Naomi attempts to outshine the competition by securing the contract for new social media start-up Cachet, but a disgruntled Cachet employee questions aspects of the project, and suddenly the world surrounding Naomi’s fabulous new deal starts to crumble.
Meanwhile, Naomi does manage some extra-curricular amorous activity with a banker colleague from the same firm, Michael (James Purefoy). While Naomi tries to look after her deals and keep Michael at arm’s length on the details of her business activities, it soon becomes obvious that she can’t control everything, and leaks start to occur.
As an investigator at the Department of Justice, Samantha is on the hunt for anything she can sniff out about Naomi’s contacts that can enhance her own career. Assistant Erin is keen to overtake Naomi by charming Cachet whiz-kid Ed (Samuel Roukin), while hiding her pregnancy because it may damage her chances of promotion.
Equity is about women who thrive on competition and ambition, and who will do what it takes to stay ahead in business, no matter what the cost.
And that’s the attitude that sat uneasily with me. What is missing from these women’s lives is a sense of personal morality and a fulfilling life away from the office. Achievement on the business front is the only goal, with their personal life an optional extra. I felt genuinely sad for the pressure that these women of Wall Street face.
Equity is a thought-provoking film that will make you address your own values and what makes life worth living.
Highlight: strong performances from the female leads
Red flag: language and adult themes