The Buck Stops Here : "Money Monster" (2016) Movie Review

Updated on November 16, 2016

Money Monster, released May 13, 2016, is Jodie Foster's fourth directorial outing and stars Goerge Clooney & Julia Roberts. The plot is fairly simple ; a financial TV show host (Clooney) is taken hostage on live TV by a frustrated shareholder (Jack O'Connell) whose life went awry after he followed his advice. He wants answers and it is up to the show's director (Roberts) to solve the problem from backstage. The movie, despite its simple premise, touches deeper themes than what we might expect from an action thriller, notably the impact of the lack of financial knowledge of the average person, corruption or what is morally acceptable in order to create profits in a multinational corporation. Foster's film excels at being both a great action thriller and a cautionary tale. WARNING : Light spoilers ahead !

The main highlight of the film for me are the performances of its lead actors. It is flawless work. Clooney especially is extremely effective and funny as Lee Gates, the host of Money Monster, a financial TV show that is quite similar to real-life TV show Mad Money. His show mixes entertainment and financial advice as Gates dances, sings and basically does everything to keep his audience's attention despite the serious subject matter. The role was tailor-made for Clooney, who is known for playing charismatic and charming men on screen, while the public's perception of him in real-life is quite the same. He also displays his comedic side, whether its through the dance sequences or when he acts as comic relief during the tense scenes with O'Connell's Kyle Budwell. But Gates has a heart too and he seems to drastically change his position during the last quarter of the film, showing compassion for Kyle Budwell. This might seem unbelievable at first, as Budwell constantly threatens him, but Clooney portrays it convincingly, so much so that the audience too can't help but wonder who really is the bad guy in the film !

Clooney is genuinely funny as Lee Gates, the host of financial TV show Money Monster.
Clooney is genuinely funny as Lee Gates, the host of financial TV show Money Monster.

Julia Roberts is portraying the TV show director Patty Fenn. She spends most of the film sitting, talking with Gates through his earpiece but she gets a bit of action at the end of the film. Roberts is effective in the role but I think it was not a very challenging one (at least not as much as Clooney's). During the whole movie, I kept thinking the role would have been perfect for Jodie Foster herself ! Jack O'Connell is very good as Kyle Budwell, portraying him as a deeply troubled young man with whom we can't help but sympathize as his life is falling apart. He is able to maintain the right balance between being threatening and sympathetic at the same time, which is quite an accomplishment. Lots of people in the audience will likely see a bit of themselves through his character, as he his angered by the way Wall Street works and how it is sometimes impossible to know who should be held responsible when something goes wrong. His story is the classic David v. Goliath tale, here one man against a multinational corporation and its dark heart.

Julia Roberts is the show's director Patty Fenn.
Julia Roberts is the show's director Patty Fenn.

Apart from the performances, there is much to love about Money Monster. Here is a movie that creates suspense and tension the old-fashioned way, without it relying on CGI or countless action scenes. The film is dialogue-heavy and the interaction between the characters is all we have. In that way, the film feels like a breath of fresh air amidst all the usual superhero or franchises blockbusters of the summer. This film managed to keep me guessing how Clooney's character would get out of his situation until the very last minutes, which is something I experience rarely in theaters. We obviously know that his character will survive but how it happens is what is truly thrilling. The movie has many secondary characters and underplots, as it doesn't only focus on what happens in the studio where Clooney is held hostage, but it is never confusing and always fascinating. Jodie Foster is, I believe, a very promising director and I can't wait for her next movie. Being already an excellent actress, it seems like she can do anything !

Director Jodie Foster and Jack O'Connell during filming.
Director Jodie Foster and Jack O'Connell during filming.

The final point I'd like to highlight are the film's themes. At one point, a character (Dominic West's Walt Camby) says that nobody cares what a corporation does as long as it brings profits but that shareholders will start complaining as soon as something goes wrong. This quote is quite thought provoking and raises many questions, especially considering the horror stories we get in the news every day. Corruption and who should be held accountable is another important theme but it also makes us reflect on the power of media, the value of human life vs money and loyalty. I believe Jack O'ConnelI's character could be any average person but pushed to the extreme. A lot of people invest huge quantities of money in corporations and yet they don't know how the market works or why exactly they are doing it. I was surprised by how a film that at first seemed like a simple thriller stayed with me so long after it was finished. Don't get fooled by the trailers ; Money Monster is a thrilling and important film, great entertainment that manages to make you think.

Jodie Foster, Julia Roberts and George Clooney at the premiere of the film at the 2016 Cannes film festival.
Jodie Foster, Julia Roberts and George Clooney at the premiere of the film at the 2016 Cannes film festival.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Alex Dino profile imageAUTHOR

      Alex Dino 

      4 years ago from Canada

      I could and I will ! Keep on reading !


    • Dianelle profile image


      4 years ago

      Thanks for the review, Alex! I was thinking whether to watch this movie or not, and I can say that you persuaded me ;) You might consider writing more reviews about other recent movies as well, not only old ones, as you do usually, m?)


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)