I like watching movies with no pre-conceived notions about it. Of course, reviews like this destroy that possibility. I wish there was a good system for reviewing movies and having a reliable algorithm for determining if you'd like another movie without revealing what the movie was about. If you trust that you'll like this movie, just go watch it before reading the rest of this review and come back to see what my thoughts were on the movie. I think you'll appreciate not knowing. Well, regardless, it's time to destroy any possibility that you'll have the same experience as I did!
Did you like the style of The Big Short? If you haven't seen it, I'd describe it as a way to explain a complicated legal and financial crisis in a simple way so that people can digest it and hopefully try to fix it. For The Big Short it was the 2008 housing market crash. For The Laundromat it was the 2015 leak of financial documents called the Panama Papers (Wikipedia overview). Sadly, it wasn't quite as well done as The Big Short, but it was still good. Adding a specific narrative to such an overwhelming problem is a great way to make a lay person understand a topic as complicated as this.
The Laundromat tells the story of a woman trying to find justice after a tragic accident. Not having seen a preview of the movie, this was a very sad moment for me (starting at the beginning of the movie, it's impossible to talk about it without revealing it). This takes her on a journey of enlightenment about how the world works in this dark area of financial and legal protocols where companies screw over consumers legally without repercussions.
If you liked The Big Short, I think you'll also enjoy The Laundromat. Also, Meryl Streep is a treasure and I'd watch any movie she's in. I really hope you took my advice and watched the movie first. If you did, here's a more spoiler-filled review of the movie that doesn't reveal anything past what the previews showed. I really liked that they showed how out of control the system was for these shell companies that are designed to insulate people from the actions of the corporations (to help the wealthy take money from the less wealthy). Since the incident with the Panama Papers isn't as well known as the housing crisis, I think this story was a bit more detached from the actual scandal. It's more of a ancillary narrative that reveals what the scandal was about instead of an insider perspective.
Even though I didn't enjoy The Laundromat as much as The Big Short, I still think it's important for people to watch it. We need to know that there's a problem before we can fix the problem. And right now the problem is that the laws are designed to help the wealthy instead of helping the consumers. Let's fix that.