Style & Then Some

Life lessons from The Wolf of Wall Street


Leonardo DiCaprio, Wolf of Wall Street, 2014, Martin Scorsese

Lesson one: go and see The Wolf of Wall Street. Yes, its completely debauched – drugs (lots), sex (lots), yachts, and huge scale money laundering are basically all this movie is, in all its 180-minute glory. But trust me, you won’t even mind – most of the time, you’ll be willing them on.

Perhaps it’s being part of a recession generation with parents who look back upon the seventies, eighties and nineties as the good, rich days. Or maybe it’s symptomatic of a wider societal trend to idolise the outrageous (see also: Miley, Kanye…) – but this movie has struck a chord with twenty-somethings the Western world over. Jordan Belfort, the swindling, philandering cocaine-snorting stockbroker should be everything we hate about an era that came back to bite us thirty years on. But his ambition, his guts, his wit in a world currently living on a shoestring is infectious. Like all great bad-but-good guys, Belfort’s attraction lies in his strange resemblance to the naughty kids at school. Of course you wouldn’t want to be him, but you really, really want him to like you all the same.

And the best thing? For about ten minutes after you leave the cinema, you feel a little bit like you’re unstoppable too – there’s a hell of a lot of psyched up pep talk in this movie (thanks Scorsese), and it ends up working on the audience. That’s until you realise you’re not actually a multi-millionaire with Jonah Hill for a best friend and that the real Jordan Belforts of the world contributed significantly to widespread poverty in modern America and embody pretty much all humanity’s worst traits.

Anyway, here are the real lessons from The Wolf of Wall Street:

  1. Leonardo DiCaprio is still very good looking, if a little puffy-faced.
  2. A good telephone manner is enough to get people to trust you. Or at least, it was in the eighties.
  3. A good brand name, evoking images of prestige and legacy, is also enough to get people to trust you. Or at least, it was in the 1980s.
  4. If you want a yacht named after you and a life of doing next to nothing, look and act like Margot Robbie. Just be prepared for your husband to be a complete lunatic.
  5. If you take a substantial amount of intoxicants and appear to be fine, do not take any more. Do not then attempt to drive a Lamborghini.
  6. Matthew McConaughey is in this film for about ten minutes, but his chest thumping meditation thing stays in your head for days.
  7. We all now know what a fugazi is.
  8. The FBI are pretty slow on the uptake – or at least they were in the eighties.
  9. If you’re brave/crazy enough, you can literally do anything. Until you get caught.

As one particular viral quote of Belfort’s puts it, ‘The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.’ Whilst it certainly is ironic that it might be a stockbroker that helps inspire a generation, that’s not bad wisdom from a criminal.

Leonardo DiCaprio, Wolf of Wall Street, 2014, Martin Scorsese

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3 comments on “Life lessons from The Wolf of Wall Street

  1. kerryobrine
    February 7, 2014

    He speaks the truth!! Self belief is the key – if you don’t believe in you no one else will.

  2. Helen Coakley
    February 10, 2014

    This is a brilliant piece. I need to go see this film! x

  3. Pingback: From Teen Choice Awards to Oscar glory? Matthew McConaughey proves himself in Dallas Buyers Club | Style & Then Some

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This entry was posted on February 7, 2014 by in And Then Some and tagged , , , , , , .
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