The world of high finance has long held a fascination for Hollywood. Meera Menon’s film Equity is the latest entry in the genre, focusing on investment banker Naomi Bishop. And that is what separates Equity from the dozens of other similar films out there – this is a woman’s story. In a genre that reduces women to adjuncts to men with unfortunate regularity, Equity has injected much needed estrogen into the mix.

Early on in Equity, Naomi Bishop (Anna Gunn) addresses a group of undergraduate women from her alma mater. They ask what gets her out of bed in the morning. Her answer: she likes money. She tells them “I am so glad that it’s finally ok for women to talk about ambition openly, but don’t let money be a dirty word. We can like that too.” Equity embraces this statement. At its core, it’s a film that celebrates ambitious women. It takes for granted that women can want the power and security that comes with money for themselves, not to support and care for others. The idea that an ambitious woman is not a bad person.

Money (and by extension power) drives the film forward. Naomi Bishop struggles to regain her dominant position at a major investment firm after her most recent IPO failed. Her VP, Erin Manning (Sarah Megan Thomas) refuses to compromise her corporate drive for more traditional feminine goals. Samantha (Alysia Reiner), a federal prosecutor, tries to rein in those with the power in the face of a crippling low budget. All three navigate the complex web of the financial world and the web of corruption.

For a financial film, Equity manages to be enjoyable and accessible. The script from Amy Fox is accessible to those who are not well versed in the financial world, but it also never insults our intelligence. With the help of Anna Gunn, she has created in Naomi Bishop a fascinating lead. She exudes power and confidence and her relentless drive is what gives the film its primary energy.

Equity opens the conversation about women, ambition, and money. It never judges its leads, no matter how questionable their actions and motives may be. Instead, it tries to understand them. Ambition is what drives us, but money is how we achieve our ambitions. Naomi’s speech neatly bookends this idea as it is repeated in the final scene. For women “Money shouldn’t be a dirty word” and neither should ambition. Ambitious women create great work like Equity.

Is Equity opening weekend worthy?

Equtiy breathes new life into a tired genre and is a nice counterpoint to the superhero oversaturation in theatres.

Equity opens Friday, August 12, 2016 at Cineplex Varsity. Check their website for more information.

Equity trailer