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“Win Win” Allegorically Forgives Wall Street for the Financial Crisis

"Win Win" Allegorically Forgives Wall Street for the Financial Crisis

One of the most enjoyable movies of the year so far, “Win Win” is still going for a victory in theaters. Over the weekend it pulled in another $1.2 million on only 226 screens. It may not be big box office, but for two straight weeks the R-rated indie comedy has done better than the PG-13 version of “The King’s Speech,” at least. I wish it was doing a lot better, though. As I say in my review from Sundance, this hilarious film “must be seen for the supporting cast, including the hilarious Bobby Canavale who is never better than in a McCarthy movie, and McCarthy is never better without Cannavale playing the part of the fool/comic chorus.”

Could the relevance to the economy have any bearing on keeping moviegoers away? I hope not, because the plot (which isn’t as developed as the ensemble makes it seem) is merely set in the present times, and it also raises some interesting moral questions for those currently struggling to make ends meet. Yet I also don’t think it’s to be thought of so seriously in regards to the greater financial world, whereas writer/director Todd McCarthy has stressed that the movie is an allegory for the recent crisis and therefore it would seem Paul Giamatti’s ethically irresponsible protagonist is kind of representative of the people behind the mess, as per the following quotes, via Austin 360:

“He has a family and he lives in town and he’s a good guy, but he did this thing. How do we reconcile that? That to me was speaking very directly to where we are as a society, especially financially.” […]

“I don’t think they’re all evil people; I’m not a big believer in that,” McCarthy says of financial workers. “My family works on Wall Street. But there were some really bad choices made by decent people. Too many things like this happen, and we say, ‘Oh, those guys are bad guys. We’re in this situation cause of bad guys.’ I think we’re in this situation because collectively we’ve made some pretty bad choices.”

So Giamatti is the everyman, and it’s this everyman, aka all of us, who are equally responsible for the economic crisis. Perhaps, in a very grand scheme of things, but surely there are some worse guys than others. And Giamatti’s character, who exploits an elderly client for financial gain, is one of those less moral members of his ensemble. But just as we’re kind of meant to like and sympathize with and forgive the guy in the movie, McCarthy is also asking us to forgive all of Wall Street and the rest of those who exploited millions of people for personal gain? I don’t know.

“The movie wasn’t about what was happening a year ago or two years ago, it was about looking forward, I think, a little bit more,” McCarthy said. “Look, everyone’s going to be in this position for the next 15, 20, 25 years. It’s not going away. I think it’s a question of how we proceed with a sense of responsibility and grace. That to me is interesting.”

Does McCarthy mean the question is how we proceed with respect to those on Wall Street? Maybe if all the bigger culprits should just adopt a troubled teen and it’ll be easier to let things go.

Maybe the filmmaker has confused his own movie with another, like Flick Rev has, through the mistake of featuring the following poster:

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