Greed Parent Guide
A dark comedy that effectively satirizes conspicuous consumption by the super-rich.
Parent Movie Review
Sir Richard “McGreedy” McCreadie (Steve Coogan) has built an empire in the mass market fashion world. Known as “The King of the High Street”, he wants his 60th birthday party to be suitably majestic and sets off to the scenic Greek island of Mykonos for the festivities. Accompanied by an extensive entourage, including his ex-wife Samantha (Isla Fisher, his biographer Nick (David Mitchell), and a live lion, the big birthday bash promises to be the event of the year…
Greed is a satire, but only barely. The excesses of the super-rich are very nearly self-satirizing, so director Michael Winterbottom doesn’t have try very hard. Any comedy you find is a dark reminder of conspicuous overconsumption by the wealthy, and the growing gap between the richest and poorest people in our society.
The acting is spot-on as well: Steve Coogan has an abrasive confidence that suits his character perfectly, while David Mitchell brings his trademark diffident sarcasm to his character. Isla Fisher appears to be playing functionally the same character she played in Beach Bum, although this is mercifully a much less irritating script for her to work from.
There is, however, a fair amount of content to be concerned with here. The profanity is excessive by any measure, with nearly one hundred extreme profanities in almost as many minutes. There is rather less sex and alcohol than I expected, and a bit more gruesome violence than I was prepared for. In fairness, it’s hard to show someone being killed by a lion without some mess.
Socially conscious, political, irreverent, and only occasionally confusing, Greed is a sharp satire of the super-rich. It is best suited to adult audiences, and is rated accordingly, but for those with the resilience to handle the profanity, it holds some biting commentary. It’s difficult to watch a spoiled megalomaniacal narcissist building his elaborate carnival to excess right next to a beach full of starving refugees, but it is certainly effective as a visual contrast of widening global economic inequality.
In 1987, Michael Douglas’s character in Wall Street uttered the iconic line, “Greed is good”. In 2020, Greed will likely make you question his assertion and ask yourself if there might be a dark side to avarice, excess, consumption, and self-indulgence.Directed by Michael Winterbottom. Starring Steve Coogan, David Mitchell, and Isla Fisher. Running time: 104 minutes. Theatrical release February 28, 2020. Updated March 5, 2020
Watch the trailer for Greed
Rating & Content Info
Why is Greed rated R? Greed is rated R by the MPAA for pervasive language and brief drug use
Violence: A young man is caned in school as a punishment. A person dies off-screen in a fire. An individual is somewhat messily killed by an animal.
Sexual Content: A married couple is shown fully clothed in bed, and a number of sexual references are made. No direct nudity or sex are shown. There is a crude reference to child sexual abuse.
Profanity: There are 97 extreme profanities, 19 scatalogical curses, and dozens of mild, moderate, and religious profanities. There are frequent uses of crude and sexual language.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Individuals are shown drinking wine and champagne at a party. A person is shown using cocaine. An individual induces an animal to take cocaine.
Page last updated March 5, 2020
Greed Parents' Guide
What do you think of Sir Richard’s birthday party? Do you think he’s entitled to spend the money he’s earned in any way he wishes? Do you think his spending is excessive and socially irresponsible? Are you concerned about widening economic inequality? Why or why not?
Are you concerned about conspicuous consumption? Why or why not?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
Canadian journalist Chrystia Freeland (who is now Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister) wrote Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else after years on the business beat. This fascinating study looks closely at the 0.1% and how their staggering fortunes affect our economic and political realities.
In Unbound, Heather Boushey argues that reducing economic inequality would actually produce faster economic growth than maintaining the status quo.
Robert Reich, who served as Secretary of Labor from 1993 to 1997, argues in his book, Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few, that a few massively wealthy individuals have skewed the system to serve their interests and to make it increasingly difficult for the middle class to prosper.
Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer – and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class by Jacob S Hacker and Paul Pierson looks at how economic inequality distorts the political system against the interests of most voters and in favor of the super-rich.
With Conspicuous Consumption, Thorsten Veblen aimed his satire straight at the heart of a leisure class fixated on external trappings and manifestations of wealth.
It’s not just Sir Richard’s over-consumption that has social and environmental consequences. So do our buying choices. In The Story of Stuff, Annie Leonard tracks how our consumer obsessions are damaging the planet, our societies and even our health.
Related home video titles:
This movie has a great deal in common with The Big Short, which focuses on the economic conditions that led to the 2008 financial crisis. Commonalities include excessive profanity, political awareness, and creative editing.
Seen from the perspective of a young intern, The Devil Wears Prada illuminates a fashion world filled with ever shifting trends and dominated by outsize egos.
Inside Job interviews financial insiders, politicians, journalists and academics to explore the causes of the 2008 recession.
The Founder casts a somewhat jaundiced eye at Ray Kroc, founder of the McDonald’s fast food empire.
A Christmas Carol is the classic story of a man whose obsession with money is changed after a supernatural experience.