All the Money in the World: Movie Review

Jean Paul Getty Sr. was the richest man in the world. When his grandson was kidnapped, he refused to pay the ransom. All The Money In the World brings this shocking true story to the big screens, released Dec. 25, 2017.

The movie centers around the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III (portrayed by Charlie Plummer). He is the grandson of billionaire Jean Paul Getty, a role which had originally been acted by Kevin Spacey. When several sexaul misconduct allegations came up against Spacey after the movie was finished, the director ousted the actor and ordered the entire movie to be reshot with Christopher Plummer as Getty Sr, instead.

Gail Harris is the mother of Jean Paul Getty III and the ex-wife of John Paul Getty. She desperately struggles throughout the film to convince her son’s billionaire grandfather to pay the ransom. John Paul Getty is the father of the kidnapped boy. He is addicted to drugs and alcohol and is largely ineffective to do anything to save his 16 year old kidnapped son. It is up to Harris and Fletcher Chase, a private investigator hired by Getty Sr., to try to get Getty III back home to safety.

Getty III is a cold and calculating character. It is established throughout the film that he cares about money and power more than anything, even his own family. When Detective Chase tells him that he needs to pay the ransom, Getty Sr. says that he “doesn’t have the money to spare”, even though Chase says that “nobody has been richer than you are at this moment”.

A memorable part of the film is when reporters question Getty III after his grandson is kidnapped. They ask why he won’t pay the ransom despite having the money to do so. Getty Sr. proceeds to say, live on TV, “If I pay one penny now, I’ll have 14 kidnapped grandchildren.”

A weak point of the film is the pacing of the movie. The movie seemed frustratingly slow as the unabashed Getty Sr. allowed his grandson to be held captive for months. The excitement starts to pick up once the boy is sold to more cruel kidnappers and the stakes become raised higher.

This film is shocking and memorable because it is based on a real story. The movie leads, Christopher Plummer and Michelle Williams, do a great job in portraying their respective characters. Plummer captures the cold nonchalance of Getty Sr, and Williams captures the passionate determination of a mother perfectly.

There are some elements of the movie which are not exclusively based on historical events. Fletcher Chase, for example, was an extra, sometimes superfluous, character added to the movie. Other than that, the movie does a pretty good job of depicting what really happened in the true story of the kidnapping of Jean Paul Getty III.

It’s story is appalling, frustrating, and sadly, true. All The Money in the World is a memorable film. But what is really memorable is the tragic case of the Getty family, which even “all the money in the world” could not fix.

It’s hard to hear about the true story of Jean Paul Getty III’s kidnapping.

Photo Credit: Sony Pictures

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