Starring Christopher Plummer, Michelle Williams and Charlie Plummer (no relation to Christopher that I could find), All the Money in the World is based on John Pearson’s, book, Painfully Rich: The Outrageous Fortune and Misfortunes of the Heirs of J. Paul Getty (1995). A part of the book covers the true events surrounding the 1973, months-long kidnapping of John Paul Getty III, grandson of oil baron John Paul Getty, founder of the Getty Oil Company who was, at that time, the richest man in the world (worth a reported low estimate of $1.2 billion in 1966).
This movie made me angry – or rather, the late J. Paul Getty made me angry. Here’s this man worth over a billion dollars who hemmed and hawed over paying $17 million to retrieve his grandson from kidnappers for months. I mean, this 16 year old kid was held from July 10th throu gh December 15th! They sent his family his severed ear around the three month mark, for crying out loud! I understand the man was tightfisted with a dollar. He washed his own clothes at hotels to keep from paying for laundry, he had a pay phone in his mansion for guests to use, etc. And I wouldn’t say he didn’t love his grandson, but the man seemed to lack basic human compassion, and the dollar came first and foremost. I cannot imagine having the means to reclaim a kidnapped family member, and not doing so because I couldn’t get a tax write off for the ransom. Even when the demand went as low as $4 million months into the situation (not that $17 million wasn’t a mere pittance to an oil baron), he still refused to pay. I also understand the, “I don’t negotiate with terrorists” mentality. Getty infamously stated at the time, “If I pay one penny now, I’ll have 14 kidnapped grandchildren.” But we are talking about your grandchild here, sir. Just, damn!
The replacement of Kevin Spacey (following his sexual harassment/sexual assault scandal) with Christopher Plummer was casting brilliance! Since J. Paul Getty was approximately 80 years old in 1973, why bother with prosthesis and makeup when there is a highly qualified actor in the age range? Although I would have liked to see what Spacey would have done in the role, I’m glad Plummer got a shot at it. (There is a soft spot in my heart for Christopher Plummer after watching him in Remember (2015), a film I always recommend to people any time I write about Plummer. If you’ve not seen it, do. And if you’re sick of me bringing it up, watch that movie and learn why I continue to do it.) Ridley Scott & Co. and solely credited Claire Simpson get props for some fast shooting and editing after Spacey was edited out and replaced with Plummer.
I have to say… I’m still on the fence regarding Michelle Williams and her acting. She’s okay, but I could think of at least a half dozen of her peers who could have done the job equally as well. I was neither impressed nor underwhelmed by her performance, as always seems to be the case. Just being honest. She doesn’t move me. She does know how to pick roles that fit her range, I will give her that. And I enjoyed her character in The Greatest Showman very much. I’ll have a definitive answer on how I feel about her after she ventures forth with the more challenging role of Janis (a project that has been plagued with problems since 1999 – read the “Did you know?” section in the link), where she will play Janis Joplin. I am expecting great things. The standout actor in All the Money in the World is Romain Duris who plays the kidnapper with a soul. He did what he could to help J. Paul III get through this ordeal.
I’ll keep this short. All the Money in the World earned 7.5 out of 10 bloops. It’s a good movie, worth seeing. It is a character study (or the study of someone greatly lacking in character, depending on how you look at it) of a man who seemed to have everything, but was empty inside. The story is interesting and suspenseful even though we all know how it worked out in the end (for those of us who were alive at the time and remember the story as it happened, as I do, although I was but a wee tot). It inspired me to read more about the case, and the interesting part of the story doesn’t stop with the recovery of J. Paul III. It continues on as a filthy-rich, divided, dysfunctional family with a patriarch who seems to have been an otherwise miserable person deals with their preexisting and ongoing issues. Money isn’t everything. Although my ransom might be far less, it’s worth more to me to be confident that if someone were to kidnap me, someone would be concerned enough to raise and deliver the ransom to save my life. I’ll keep my poor and working class, loving, compassionate relatives over all the money in the world any day, thank you very much!
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1 = worst ever, avoid at all cost
2 = very bad, forget about it!
3 = poor movie, not recommended
4 = not good, even for free – NO!
5 = so-so, worth it if you don’t have to pay
6 = not bad, could have been better
7 = good movie, worth seeing
8 = great movie, don’t miss it!
9 = excellent movie, a must see!
10 = a masterpiece, go see it now!
What I’m reviewing next…
I’ve seen Molly’s Game, The Post and Phantom Threads, so that all has to be done. I still cannot bring myself to review Lady Bird. I can’t tell yet if it’s because I just don’t care enough or what but I saw it weeks ago and still cannot find it in myself to complete the write up.
What I’m absolutely seeing this week –
There’s nothing out this week that is noteworthy because it’s awards season, so the market is soft. I’m thankful for that because I have some catching up to do!
The Greatest Showman
The Disaster Artist
Call Me By Your Name
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
The Shape of Water
The Man Who Invented Christmas
Victoria and Abdul
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
The Big Sick
All Eyez on Me
It Comes at Night
The Wedding Plan
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Kong: Skull Island
The Girl with All the Gifts
A Cure for Wellness
Hell or High Water
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea
I Am Not Your Negro