The crazy true story behind ‘Dumb Money’
(Credit: Netflix)

Film News

The crazy true story behind ‘Dumb Money’

Get ready to go on a rollercoaster journey about finance bros and Reddit rebellions as Dumb Money hits Netflix US on January 21st, 2024. 

Directed by Craig Gillespie and penned by Lauren Schuker Blum and Rebecca Angelo, Dumb Money was released in US theatres in September 2023. The biographical comedy-drama is based on Ben Mezrich’s 2021 book, The Antisocial Network

Featuring an ensemble cast including Paul Dano, Pete Davidson, America Ferrera, Nick Offerman, Seth Rogen, and Shailene Woodley, the film chronicles the jaw-dropping events of the GameStop short squeeze that happened in January 2021.

In the lead role, Dano brings to life the protagonist, Keith Gill, a lower-middle-class financial analyst from Brockton, Massachusetts. By day, he struggles to make ends meet, and by night, he transforms into ‘Roaring Kitty’, sharing stock market insights on YouTube and the r/WallStreetBets subreddit. 

What is Dumb Money about?

The story of Dumb Money unfolds in July 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, when Gill notices GameStop’s declining stock. Undeterred, he invests his life savings in GME stocks, documenting his journey through YouTube live streams. As the stock catches the attention of retail investors, including a struggling nurse, a GameStop employee, and a college couple, the stage is set for a financial showdown between the Davids and Goliaths of finance.

The film depicts the unprecedented events that unfolded as the GameStop short squeeze rocked the financial world. Major hedge funds, including Melvin Capital Management, found themselves on the losing end as GameStop’s stock price soared. 

However, the situation took a turn when the r/WallStreetBets subreddit was inexplicably shut down, triggering panic selling. Robinhood, a commission-free trading platform, faced backlash as it halted purchases of GameStop stock, ultimately leading to a congressional investigation.

Gill became the unexpected face of a financial revolution that captivated the world during the peak months of Covid lockdowns around the globe. It led to big hedge funds declaring bankruptcy and ethics investigations.

What is the true story behind Dumb Money?

Everything began when Keith Patrick Gill, an American financial analyst and investor, gained prominence for his influential posts on the subreddit r/WallStreetBets. Reuters exposed Gill’s identity on January 28th, 2021, after scrutinising public records and social media posts.

Operating under the usernames DeepFuckingValue (DFV) on Reddit and Roaring Kitty on YouTube and Twitter, Gill played a pivotal role in the GameStop short squeeze of January 2021 and triggered a subsequent trading frenzy in retail stocks. His adept analyses and open discussions on GameStop stock were instrumental in turning his initial $53,000 investment into an impressive sum close to $50 million by January 28th, 2021.

Gill’s posts, characterised by forthrightness and data-driven content, were centred around the deep value investing philosophy, evident in his username’s derivation. His data, backed by fundamental and technical analyses, attracted retail investors to GameStop, sparking a widespread surge in trading activity.

As the GameStop short squeeze unfolded, hedge funds like Melvin Capital faced financial turmoil while retail investors, including Gill, reaped substantial gains. Gill’s strategic moves, such as doubling his GameStop shares to 100,000 and later increasing ownership to 200,000 shares, showcased his continued belief in the value of overlooked stocks. 

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Gill clarified that his actions were not aimed at challenging the establishment. He said he “wasn’t a rabble-rouser out to take on the establishment, just someone who believes investors can find value in unloved stocks.”

Testifying during a virtual hearing held by the US House Financial Services Committee on February 18th, 2021, Gill asserted that he did not encourage others to buy or sell stock for his personal gain.

Did Keith Gill sell his Gamestop stock?

Keith Gill opted for a life of anonymity post the GameStop saga. What is known for sure is that Gill did not sell his stocks before the Congressional Hearing. He did get hit by tremendous losses, but like Dumb Money suggests, he bought more GameStop stocks before going MIA. It might have been a very wise move, indeed, since the stock price tripled afterwards.

In April 2021, Gill shared a final spreadsheet on Reddit estimating his GameStop stock at $34,473,248.01, while Reuters valued it at $48 million at its peak. People lurking on the forums Gill once haunted still speculate whether Roaring Kitty is still holding the line with diamond hands. No one knows for sure.

You can watch Dumb Money on Netflix and catch the trailer here: