The Company Men – Review

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It’s all about timing in Hollywood. Usually you can look forward to its best films in the summer and the holiday season. If something is coming out any other time, proceed with caution. Summer obviously because there is a ton of money to make, as well the holidays, but also winter films are released in hopes for recognition by the various award ceremonies.

Sundance Film Festival is a great testing ground for what will be coming out in the future, at least in the art house scene. Last year, Sundance premiered a film by the name of The Company Men. This ensemble cast film was the story of various people who work for a company that is slowly getting rid of its workforce and how they deal with the transition of losing everything. An amazing film that was picked up at Sundance by The Weinstein Company in January 2010. Later, much later, it had a limited one week release on December 10, 2010 in order to be eligible for the 2011 Academy Awards.

Sadly, The Company Men received no nominations, but don’t take that as a sign of weakness, this film has more heart and story then that a summer blockbuster. Set during the economic turmoil that we deal with today, we get to see the effects of the financial collapse from various levels of the business structure. Although told from a narrative perspective this film plays out like something based on real events. Especially when Phil Woodward, played by the properly appreciated Chris Cooper, half-jokingly threatens to take an AK-47 to his work place instead of being let go.
It would have been nice to see this story told from the perspective of those that work on the factory floor, but that in itself is a contributing factor to the problem. As said perfectly in the film, “This is America, heavy manufacturing is dead.” Shortly after that it was admitted that, “we work for the stock holders now.” In the business, like many today, the only care is the price of the stock, wave after wave of layoffs begin to happen in order to show fiscal growth.

Friendships and promises between characters are tested and even the closest bonds are broken. All are left trying to find who they are as people without their jobs to define them. Class plays out so convincingly, as the high up you get the less life is present in their social gatherings, yet when you get closer to middle class the vigor of the families is there.

Told at a pace that seems to be a bit on a slow note but it really allows for the delicacy of each plot to play itself out honestly. Characters, each holding their own unique but connected arcs, are full figured and believable in every way.

This film may not have been nominated for any huge awards but should be mandatory viewing for all business students and their families. It is a great reflection and statement of America’s business culture and how it is consuming itself from the bottom up.

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