Dumb Money: How a Massachusetts native took down investment giants

Photo by Sam Spound

9/14/2023 by Nia Harmon

Kingdoms fall in the new movie Dumb Money, the story of how MassMutual employee and YouTube live streamer, Keith Gill’s–referred to as “Roaring Kitty” and “DeepF******Value” online–expertise led to the GameStop short squeeze of January 2021.

Image courtesy of Sam Spound

The name drawn from the term used to individual investors on Wall Street, Dumb Money– is a book-turned-movie that tells the story of five individuals across the United States, who put their financial trust into an online presence named “Roaring Kitty” and walked away with life changing amounts of money. 

Actor Paul Dano plays Keith Gill, AKA Roaring Kitty, the stock market disruptor who created a frenzy on social media as people took to Reddit and TikTok for financial discourse, all while Wall Street billionaires scraped together what they could to try and save their hedge funds. 

“I thought it was insane. I think most people did,” said writer Carolina Ribeiro as she recounts hearing about the situation in real time. “I was both dismayed because it’s a real awakening to realize the system is rigged against you, but also inspired to see that there was a community.”

At the free Advanced Screening held at AMC Boston Common 19, movie-goers flocked to see the star-studded cast retell the story of a financial phenomenon. 

“I spend a lot of time in movie circles [and] I do a lot of research on movies,” said movie-fanatic and Paul Dano fan Corey Olteanu. “I knew the movie was the GameStop Reddit market crash thing, so I kind of had the preconceptions about it so I came [to] see the movie.”

Opening up with somber music and starting off in Miami, Florida, on January 25th of 2021, audiences watch as Melvin Capital hedge fund founder Gabriel Plotkin, played by Seth Rogan, frantically calls fellow investors to help save his sinking ship of a company as GameStop stocks skyrocketed.  

Ending with real footage from the court hearings and a shocking twist at the end, the one hour and forty four minute movie shows the highs and lows of investing in stocks for both ordinary investors and those who control the market. 

“I feel like it covered the information of what went down and also kind of brought a bit of an emotional and personal side to it,” said Ribeiro following the screening. “They integrated all of the different characters showing not just diversity of identities but diversity of backgrounds and lived experiences and where they were all coming from. It kind of added nuance and color to my perception of who was actually involved in this.” 

Dumb Money will be available for viewing in limited theaters starting September 13th, following with a wide release on September 29th.