The new film The Wolf of Wall Street certainly has people talking, and apparently, many think its message is immoral and glorifies the shady aspects of doing business on Wall Street. However, Business Insider‘s Joe Weisenthal thinks the message is less about showing off shady Wall Street and more about showcasing the lengths so-called normal people have to go to in order to make it big on Wall Street. (Let me preface this by saying I have not seen this movie. I’ve just read what Weisenthal and others have written about it).

Does The Wolf of Wall Street glorify pump-and-dumps?

One of the complaints many make is about the type of financial firm created by Jordan Belfort, who was later convicted of fraud after being accused of manipulating the stock market and operating a penny stock boiler room. The film doesn’t focus on his victims at all, which is indeed a problem. However, Weisenthal thinks that people might be missing the whole point.

Instead, he suggests that the story is about the American Dream and what he calls “normals” must do to achieve the dream. He suggests that financial firms make it so difficult for people without connections to get into the business and earn their fortunes that some, like Belfort, turn to “grey” areas of the law to make their money.

Belfort gives riveting speeches

In the film, Belfort recruits a number of people from Long Island and taught them how to sell stocks. Many of those stocks were either penny stocks or some other type of scheme. One of the things many have commented on is the many scenes where Jordan Belfort gives motivational speeches to his brokerage firm. These motivational speeches are no doubt a nod to his current occupation. After spending 22 months in prison on fraud charges, he now tours the globe as a motivational speaker.