Top 6 Movies About Identity Theft
Table of Contents
- By Bryan Lee
- Sep 02, 2022
Rarely does media accurately reflect reality. It characterizes values like romance, success, and beauty at the unrealistic, almost unrecognizable, extremes. However, there are fleeting moments when a piece of media portrays a poignant danger of daily life—a threat like identity theft.
There are probably thousands of movies that involve a stolen identity. Whether it downplays or exaggerates the process, the identity theft we see in movies can permanently damage a life. Below are our picks for movies that help warn about the dangers of identity theft.
The throat-punching antics of Melissa McCarthy may have the audience forgetting the dire premise of this movie. Before the over-the-top woman hunt begins, we see Jason Bateman’s character, Sandy, struggling with the aftermath of identity theft.
Sandy’s credit cards are maxed out, and he’s even missed a court date in a state he’s never even visited. Not only has his credit score taken a significant hit, but he’s also taking the heat for crimes committed under his identity.
The terrifying part of this scenario is how long it took for Sandy to realize it. This scenario isn't too different from how someone might discover their identity is compromised. Most don't make a habit of checking credit transactions week-to-week or monitoring the use of their social security number. Criminals can do a lot of damage before the victim notices the warning signs that the movie shows. If the criminal is careful about spending, they can avoid detection for an astonishingly long time.
The Talented Mr. Ripley
This psychological thriller is an eerie peek into the inner workings of an identity thief and murderer. It stars the early careers of big names like Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jude Law.
The story follows Tom Ripley, a young shipping hand tasked with bringing back his boss' son, Dickie. Tom cannot resist the allure and freedom of Dickie's way of life and ends up helping Dickie evade his father.
However, Tom’s new life doesn’t last long as he isn’t truly a part of that world. Eventually, his place at Dickie’s side weakens, and Tom takes drastic measures to continue enjoying his new life. He steals Dickie’s identification cards, forges his signature, and severs his relationships to avoid complications. As Tom’s web of lies unravels, his manic desperation displays how knowledge of minor details can fool an entire society.
The Talented Mr. Ripley runs with dark and mature themes as it explores the constantly conflicted mind of a sociopath. Viewer discretion is advised.
Jason Bateman reappears on this list within a totally different genre. Disconnect is a prime example of the catastrophic effects that information and identity theft can have on personal relationships.
This psychological drama’s primary theme is the ultimate harm we can inflict through the internet. One of these stories revolves around a young couple, Derek and Cindy, who are still grieving the death of their son.
Cindy shares personal information with her online support group, which leads to their stolen identities. The couple finds their savings empty, and their home ownership is now in danger.
Disconnect acts as a reminder that these criminals will take advantage of anything. They'll use any information they find and have no sympathy for personal circumstances. So, it's vital always to act cautiously regardless of our mental state.
Starring Sandra Bullock as Angela Bennett, The Net is a chilling tale of identity theft’s “worst case scenario.”
Many newly christened remote workers will understand Angela Bennett’s troubles. She’s a computer analyst who works remotely and has little to no contact with anyone. Her seclusion reaches such an extreme that nobody in her life can vouch for her identity when questioned about it.
Bennett finds herself with no money, no credibility, and no options. Even worse, cyberterrorists swapped her information with that of a known criminal.
The Net paints a picture of an increasingly likely reality for each of us. As society consolidates its interactions with various websites and apps, who’s to say if the story of Angela Bennett won’t become a commonly run attack tactic?
The Age of Adaline
The Age of Adaline is the most magical entry on this list. Blake Lively takes on the titular role of Adaline, a woman afflicted with everlasting youth. A bolt of lightning and miraculous pseudo-science halted her aging at 29 years old.
Adaline adopts a new identity every few years to avoid capture and experimentation. In fact, the audience is introduced to her character as she changes her name to Jenny Larson. She meets a young man who gives her a new passport, social security number, and birth certificate.
Technically, Adaline is not stealing someone’s identity but fabricating a new one. However, this scene is an excellent example of how it’s possible to create a persona using only a few pieces of documentation.
The Great Dictator
If the Age of Adaline is the most magical, then The Great Dictator is undoubtedly the most outlandish. Starring the legendary Charlie Chaplin, this moving comedy-drama revolves around a commoner with the exact appearance of a ruthless dictator. Chaplin plays both the dictator and the commoner.
The commoner eventually must impersonate the dictator to escape death and is pushed into delivering one of the most revered movie speeches of all time. This film is satirical, but the correlation between identity and power still rings true.
Commanding an identity also gives authority over all aspects of someone’s life. This parallels how the commoner took control of the dictator's forces upon taking on his identity.
Enjoy These Movies About Identity Theft on Your Favorite Streaming Services
These are just a few of the best movies about identity theft. We chose the ones that could illuminate the dangers of identity theft. However, many other films include this concept since it’s a solid jumping-off point for suspense and conflict.
Audiences can find most of these movies on various streaming services, like HBO Max, Hulu, or Amazon Prime Video. The next time one of these movies pops up, consider the steps you should take to monitor your personal information to keep your identity safe!