Comparing ‘Philomena,’ ‘Wolf of Wall Street,’ and ‘Nebraska’ … and the Winner is ‘Philomena!’ (Guest Blog)

Comparing 'Philomena,' 'Wolf of Wall Street,' and 'Nebraska' … and the Winner is 'Philomena!' (Guest Blog)

“As to ‘Wolf of Wall Street,’ this film is devoid of values. It is cheap sexual exploitation”

Bad title. Instead, “Philomena,” played by Dame Judi Dench, should have been called something like, “They're Taking Anthony.”

This movie is: a mystery and an attempt to solve a heinous crime; a story about unconditional love between mother and son; a story about AIDS being ignored inside the Reagan administration while its employees were dying from it; a story about the importance of freelance journalism; a story about a mother's acceptance of her son's homosexuality; a story about sexual guilt and shame; a story about the crimes of the Catholic church who sold children of unwed mothers for financial gain; a story about forgiveness; a story with values.

Stephen Frears, its director is given little credit though he has done a masterful job. The production values are exquisite. After walking from a screening of “Nebraska,” which was a slow journey about making amends toward one's father and a great film because of the magnificent performances of Bruce Dern and the townsfolk of Lincoln who never had a publicist, but whose acting is every bit as good as Dern's, and pondering the merits of “The Wolf of Wall Street” while comparing all three, “Philomena” is the easy winner.

As to “Wolf of Wall Street,” this film is devoid of values. It is cheap sexual exploitation. The use of drugs, yes, is part of the story, and, yes, profits from this movie are going to charity. But slick criminal Jordan Belfort is becoming a household name due to this despicable film.

Yes, Jordan Belfort, portrayed brilliantly by Leonardo DiCaprio, is 17 years sober which is commendable, but this film is a glorification of Belfort's drug use turned into comedy with no direct amends made by Belfort to those he injured. Yes, Belfort says he is giving all profits to these folks, but has he tried to make amends on a personal level to one? Just one? On Piers Morgan's interview with him on CNN he says, “No.”

But my main objection to “Wolf of Wall Street” is its director. Scorsese may feel drug use is funny to glorify, but it is not. And the horrible exploitation of women with its gorgeous star, Margot Robbie, sitting spread eagle on the carpet while a camera films her nakedness is the cheapest shot of manipulative Scorsese's career.

“Oh, you'll be in a Marty Scorsese film,” our beautiful heroine is told. Ba Humbug. Scorsese talked this naïve beauty from down under to expose her down under. And what about all the other naked women, treated like extras, who strut around the office showing their unshaven selves. What a casting session Marty must have enjoyed choosing these women!

“Oh, you'll be in a Marty Scorsese film,” these naïve actresses were again told. Oh, please, Marty grow some cajones! Have some respect for women! This nudity was gratuitous and did not advance the plot. It was unnecessary. Could it be because Marty has been married five times that he is projecting his repressed anger toward women onto the screen needlessly? Oh, wait, he did direct Jonah Hill to masturbate and show his erection on camera so he leveled his playing field regarding sexploitation.

“Wolf of Wall Street” is a pretentious film about exploitation. Period.

“Philomena” is based on a true story ultimately about redemption written by Martin Sixsmith titled “The Lost Child of Philomena Lee.” Scorsese could learn a thing or three from Stephen Frears, Stephen Coogan who wrote the screenplay, starred in it and produced it, Martin Sixsmith and, Philomena, herself.

Scorsese, at 5'3”, is a little man.

  • Steve Barr

    Great article . I agee completely . Scorsese is an empty suit .

    • rayb_baby

      I haven't seen the film, but I have seen Belfort interviewed. For him, the film was right on target. For those that don't like the idea of the reality of Belfort, just don't see the movie. Blaming Scorsese for depicting reality is inappropriate. Scorsese is an empty suit????? That's one of the dumbest things I've ever heard. You must have never seen any of his other films.

  • elias

    What a load of bullshit. This is not an article comparing the three films, it's an article ranting about how you disliked The Wolf of Wall Street, and then you tried to claim your opinion of the film as fact. I for one thought that The Wolf Of Wall Street was the best film this year and I actually think you are getting way too caught up in your whole ‘sexploitation’ crap to actually consider the film as a whole. Maybe then would you realise that Scorsese is not condoning the behaviour, merely telling Belfort's story exactly how it went, right down to the last (insane) detail. Scorsese isn't shying away from the crazier, brasher parts of the film, he is standing up to them and the fact that people like you are getting so uptight about it proves just how good a job he did.
    Having said that, I did also like Philomena, it was fantastic film with great writing, directing and performances. Oh, and it's ‘Steve’ Coogan by the way.

    • Carson

      Wolf of Wall street is a 3 hour sausage and sexist feast made for teenage
      and early 20's frat boys or males who are at that level of immaturity.
      Andof course since its Martin Scorsse the MPAA brought the rating down
      from NC-17 to R so all the 15 year old boys can see the film, glorify it
      and repeat lines from it. Big whoop that a woman in her 70's wouldn't
      enjoy it. It's not made for most women regardless of their age nor for
      mature men (for the love of Christ just look at the first line in the
      movie; put your dick back in your pants). The women in the film are
      nothing but props and sex objects. If this movie had Michael Bay's name
      as the director (same exact movie) no high minded critics would be
      defending it as though it's high art. It's brainless teenage boy
      entertainment. Here's an idea Let's celbrate progress not excess.

      • elias

        I have seen that exact same paragraph, word for word, on about seven different websites now. Either you're the same person posting it everywhere trying to force your opinion down other people's throats, or you've copied it from somewhere in a lack of originality. If you read my response again, I actually didn't even mention the way the film treats women or anything like that. I was simply saying that Scorsese HAD to put in all those ridiculous, over-exuberant, wildly entertaining scenes in the film, because they actually happened in real life and they are part of Belfort's story. And you can't tell Belfort's story successfully without all of those scenes. If you didn't like those aspects of the film, then you don't like Belfort or his life style. So please don't call it a bad film simply because it depicts a real-life true story in the most truthful manner possible. Scorsese has done credit to himself and to the film by making it entertaining, funny and dramatic, while not shying away from the over-they-top partying, sometimes sexist, drug-fuelled scenes, because they HAD to be in there because that's what happened. I'm not calling Philomena a bad film because I hated the nuns in the film, am I? The nuns had to be portrayed like that because they were like that.

        • rayb_baby

          I haven't seen the film, but I have seen Belfort interviewed. For him, the film was right on target. For those that don't like the idea of the reality of Belfort, just don't see the movie. Blaming Scorsese for depicting reality is inappropriate.

          • elias

            I completely agree! How people can call Scorsese, one of the best directors in cinema history, an ‘empty suit', is frankly astounding.

  • Massacred

    Also Scorsesse has already tread similar ground with Casino and Goodfellas only done much better. Progress > Excess

  • XenoMorphia

    Philomena Over Wolf Every Single Time.

  • Marissa

    In many ways Wolf is a regressive movie, while it doesn't directly take a side or preach values, the vagues makes no attempt to show the viewer that such a lifestyle is bad, only that it is bad to be caught in such a lifetsytle.