I saw Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street this week and my biggest takeaway? The film based on Jordan Belfort's memoir felt like a long party the director was having by himself. But the daughter of one of Belfort's co-conspirator's wrote an open letter to Marty and Leonardo DiCaprio in LA Weekly and she's pissed.
Let me introduce myself. My name is Christina McDowell, formerly Christina Prousalis. I am the daughter of Tom Prousalis, a man the Washington Post described as "just some guy on trial for penny-stock fraud." (I had to change my name after my father stole my identity and then threatened to steal it again, but I'll get to that part later.) I was eighteen and a freshman in college when my father and his attorneys forced me to attend his trial at New York City's federal courthouse so that he "looked good" for the jury — the consummate family man.
Spoiler alert, she doesn't fully divulge the stolen identity story but I can imagine it's crazy. She does write about driving her father to prison the day he surrendered to his sentence for charges involving financial fraud because her mother was too busy crying and throwing up. Her pops even laundered money in her name to help his family survive while he was gone, except he also left his daughter in debt to the tune of $100,000 so forget about that rainy day fund. What a great dad.
The saddest part is McDowell was duped by her own father, a tried and true and successful con man. She angriest about how The Wolf of Wall Street will probably increase Belfort's latest shady wealth seminar business while glamorizing the criminal behavior that ruined her family's life. Not to mention, McDowell writes that her father is out there somewhere — Albania? — conning someone else.
You people are dangerous. Your film is a reckless attempt at continuing to pretend that these sorts of schemes are entertaining, even as the country is reeling from yet another round of Wall Street scandals. We want to get lost in what? These phony financiers' fun sexcapades and coke binges? Come on, we know the truth. This kind of behavior brought America to its knees.
And yet you're glorifying it — you who call yourselves liberals. You were honored for career excellence and for your cultural influence by The Kennedy Center, Marty. You drive a Honda hybrid, Leo. Did you think about the cultural message you'd be sending when you decided to make this film? You have successfully aligned yourself with an accomplished criminal, a guy who still hasn't made full restitution to his victims, exacerbating our national obsession with wealth and status and glorifying greed and psychopathic behavior. And don't even get me started on the incomprehensible way in which your film degrades women, the misogynistic, ass-backwards message you endorse to younger generations of men.
Now, not only do I feel like I really should've seen American Hustle instead, I feel guilty for increasing the bank account of a known criminal and huckster. Still, McDowell mentions that she plans to write a memoir about her experiences, so if Marty made a movie from that book, would he be equally as evil? Just a question.