Wealth doesn’t guarantee safety in Ridley Scott’s ‘ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD’


Kevin Spacey is J. Paul Getty in TriStar Pictures’ ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD.

Courtney Howard // Film Critic

If there was ever a huge kidnapping case to ever rock the world, it would probably include the tale of J. Paul Getty III. Because actor Balthazar Getty (LORD OF THE FLIES), his son, was big in my teen days and I have a mind like a steel trap for useless facts about celebrities, the stories about the Getty familial dramas were something I grew up hearing about. Indeed it was a fascinating, salacious case about a heartless oil magnate who refused to cave to the ransom demands of those who held his grandson. However, decades went by and no one ever dared to make it into a cinematic sensation.

That is until now. Director Ridley Scott takes on the material with ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD – and it looks like it’s gonna grab a hold of us. It certainly, once again, has my attention.

The film is based on John Pearson’s novel Painfully Rich: The Outrageous Fortune and Misfortunes of the Heirs of J. Paul Getty. Here’s the official synopsis:

ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD follows the kidnapping of 16-year-old John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer) and the desperate attempt by his devoted mother Gail (Michelle Williams) to convince his billionaire grandfather (Kevin Spacey) to pay the ransom.  When Getty Sr. refuses, Gail attempts to sway him as her son’s captors become increasingly volatile and brutal.  With her son’s life in the balance, Gail and Getty’s advisor (Mark Wahlberg) become unlikely allies in the race against time that ultimately reveals the true and lasting value of love over money.

Getty’s stubborn refusals to pay the ransom led to him commenting to the press:

 “I have 14 grandchildren,” he told reporters, “and if I pay one penny ransom, I’ll have 14 kidnapped grandchildren.”

So you can bet this dramatization is going to play out it in some interesting and unexpected ways. Sure, you can read up about the Gettys on Wikipedia – along with their other family tragedies (of which there are many)- but why would you want to spoil the film?!

ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD opens on December 8.

About author

Courtney Howard

Courtney Howard is a LAFCA, CCA, OFCS and AWFJ member, as well as a Rotten Tomatometer-approved film critic. Her work has been published on Variety, She Knows and Awards Circuit.