The Company Men Reviews

Page 1 of 80
Super Reviewer
February 12, 2013
Phil Woodward: My life ended and nobody noticed.

"In America, We Give Our Lives To Our Jobs. It's Time To Take Them Back."

The Company Men was a surprising movie for me. I didn't have great expectations because of the rather luke warm review it got when initially released. However, I really like it. I liked the story, which was real life and something that sums up many people's lives around the time of the financial repression setting in. Also I like how this shows big corporate giants and their lack of empathy for their workers. It's all about how much they can make, while they put thousands of people who have families out of work all in the name of how high we can get our stock before we cash out.

The Company Men shows three men who are negatively effected by the downsizing of the company they have each worked at for years. We see how the downsizing effects not only them, but their families as well, as money, which has never been an issue, is suddenly a problem. The story has political undertones throughout as we constantly hear things about Bush and what he's going to do about the collapse, and news about Goldman possibly being involved in illegal activities.

This movie does have some powerful moments as many things represented in it have occurred to many we know. Plants start laying off workers because stocks are dropping and the higher ups have to keep the holders happy. That's the excuse I guess. In the end though all the firings do is allow the CEO and other executives the opportunity to pad their own bank account while every worker who made the company what it is are put on the chopping block.

The Company Men is a well made and important movie with a phenomenal cast and great writing. Some moments(mostly family scenes with Affleck) come off a bit misguided, but for the most part, the film is razor sharp and effective in everything it sets out to do. This is definitely one that's worth a look and I'm glad I finally got around to seeing it after pushing it aside for a couple of years.
Super Reviewer
September 27, 2010
Really good movie, and some really great acting, by some of Hollywood's best. So many people place their significance in how much they can buy, and not in the relationships they share with those who love them. We need to be reminded of these things more often. Could've been a bit more realistic, also...having Alleck's character earn $160K, and live in an environment that dictated earning at least 3 times that amount, was a bit of a stretch. All in all, though, very moving film.
Tired of Previews
Super Reviewer
½ September 20, 2011
Directed (and written) by John Wells, The Weinstein Company, 2010. Starring Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Maria Bello, Craig T. Nelson, Chris Cooper and Kevin Costner.

Genre: Drama

Question: How many of you are worried about your job or not making enough money to support you and your family? I bet it is more than a few of you. Well, I just finished watching The Company Men and if you are one of those few, who have been downsized, fired, let go, etc...don't watch this movie. You will just get more depressed.

I know that is not my normal glowing recommendation for a movie. However, I actually liked the film and thought it was done very well - perhaps too well because it was so real. Bottom line this movie is about how the greed of some can crush the ones below them, and to hell with the consequences. The Company Men shows the ripple (and sometimes tsunami) effect when layoffs happen at a company. Sound familiar? Since 2008 everyone has been touched in one form or another with the economy so this movie just brought back everything we first feared, what we have lived through and are currently enduring.

When I started this movie today I wasn't in the best of moods and now I am worse because of it. I may have mentioned that I am easily affected by movies and this one got me. One of my many fears is not making enough money to pay my bills and with the recent few years my current job of interior design hasn't fared too well. This then reminded me of all my attempts at trying to create a successful career over a 20 year period and how it was pretty much shot down when the world economy tanked - all my worries, nightmares and concerns came flooding back.

I honestly don't want to go into too much detail about the film because we all know the story. However, I will say that Tommy Lee Jones, Ben Affleck and Chris Cooper embodied what the corporate man has gone through over the past few years. They all did a fantastic job at relaying the sense of discombobulation of the business worker and the fear that comes with it when you lose your job - a job that they have had for more than 12, 20, or 30+ years.

Losing their job not only affects them, the employee, but their family and their loved ones around them. The Company Men follows several men who lose their job and, for the life of me, I couldn't understand why when the CEO kept making money hand-over-fist. It infuriated me to see the upper echelon's greed for themselves and stockholders. I don't claim to know anything about corporate business or finance - trust me - but it was made very clear in this movie that too few actually make decent money "working" today while the rest of us get handed our pink slips when the company's stock drops a few points.

Again, I know this isn't one of my typical reviews, but I hope it doesn't discourage anyone from seeing this movie. The Company Men was well written, very well acted and there was a glimmer of hope that there are some decent employers out there. Ones that actually want to build something and help create jobs so people can get back to work and support their families. I suppose that is the American dream now.

The Company Men

My favorite thing: Tommy Lee Jones - without a doubt. Plus, I loved that his office furniture was mixture of antiques set within the cold modern surroundings of his corner office. It was brilliant interior design.

My least favorite thing: That this story is all too real.

Rating: R
Length: 104 minutes

Review: 7 out of 10
Super Reviewer
December 31, 2010
Written and directed by John Wells (ER, The West Wing), this is a timely and relevant story about the effects of corporate downsizing during the recent economic recession in the U.S.

The film follows typical all American white collar worker Bobby Walker who enjoys living the American Dream, complete with Porsche, nice house, country club membership, and lots of expensive meals and material possessions. All of that comes crashing down when his company decides they no longer need him, or veteran co-workers like his boss Gene McClary and Phil Woodward.

Being let go forces all of these men, but especially Bobby, to reevaluate their lots in life and their self worths, and reclaim their lives, which used ot be dominated by their work.

This is a very noble and honorable film, so it is unfortuante that it's not really all that good. PArt of the problem is that it feels like TV melodrama, which makes sense given Wells's background. Also, this is all very bland, with clunky dialogue and no surprises with the outcomes. There's one hell of a cast, which ultiamtely saves things, and, while they do the best they can with the material, it's not quite enough to make the film fully recommendable.

Affleck actually puts in a solid performance, his first in a while, and we do actually care about him and his struggles. Veterans like Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper, and Craig T. Nelson lend lots of class and much needed gravitas to things, but again, the film doesn't quite become anything very remarkable. Aside from an iffy Boston accent Costner is fine, and I love Maria Bello, but she could have been given a lot more to do here.

Honestly, this does have a lot of good moments to it, and it is well meaning, but it's ultimately not very memorable or quite as strong as it should have been. No matter how noble things may be, that can't help you much with a weak script and not enough inspiration.
Super Reviewer
December 28, 2011
A sonnet for the times, Company Men delves (albeit a bid heavy handedly) into the current corporate, capitalistic and opportunistic system we've created, as well as it's cost on the human side of the ledger.

3 generations of men get the lens focused on them while the company they all work for slashes jobs in an effort to keep profitable and ultimately sell their stocks for an absurd amount. For better or worse you have Ben Affleck as the 30 something man in charge of east coast sales for a department of a huge corporation. He spends many a day smoozing his customer base - 3 hour lunches at fine restaurants and days spent on the golf course - all while having the requisite two kids, loving wife, large house (and mortgage), and a Porsche. His story is the linchpin of the film, which is unfortunate as his story is the most predictable and carries the least weight, as he goes from the certainty that he will find a top job immediately, to the unemployment line and moving into his parent's home as he discovers that the 2009 crash means that no-one is hiring white collar, upper management types.

You'd like to feel sorry for Affleck and his kind - but his fall from grace, while a reality check, isn't as dire as it seems - just a bit of embarrassment that the country club gang is going to have to try to ignore as they revoke his privileges and think "what a loser" of their former "golden boy". I'm sure if Affleck was one of the survivors he'd probably feel the same way.

Far more interesting is the story of Tommy Lee Jones, as the head of the ship building division and right hand man to the company's founder. The last thing he or the viewer would expect is that after a lifetime of friendship and servitude Jones would get amputated at the knees - just for calling a spade a spade and choosing not to play the high stakes game of bluff that seems to enthrall corporate America. His character shows nobility throughout which makes him someone to root for... and of course he's Tommy Lee Jones, so you're going to root for him anyway!

Jones' acting is understated and sincere, as is Chris Cooper as a middle manager getting axed while close to retirement age. His plight is what you find truly irksome about corporate America - as, at his age, he stands very little chance of getting hired, even with a boatload of experience and expertise under his belt. In one of the film's better insights, it shows Cooper as a man who defines himself by his job - he's given his life to it, and all the trappings of success don't register to him; as if they are all there just to please his wife.

It is Cooper and Jones who show the great acting chops, although Kevin Costner is fine in a small typecast role as a blue-collar carpenter. Affleck is adequate and most of the rest of the roles are superfluous, though I found Rosemarie DeWitt as Affleck's wife to be uneven - whether it was a case of acting or that she was saddled with a poor script I'll let you decide.

Really, this film had a good pace and some strong acting - but it just seemed so pat; even the ending, which showed a man willing to pay it forward to dream - while a worthwhile sentiment, it, like so much of the film, was too much about an ideal and not enough of a dose of reality, in spite of the subject matter.
Super Reviewer
½ January 22, 2011
I don't know about you, but when I go to the movies I go to escape the world around me, leave reality outside, and enjoy something original. Your probably thinking: "Why would I want to go and watch a movie about the economic struggles people are facing in the world today? Something that I'm struggling with?". Well, folks, that's what makes "The Company Men" so intriguing. It's taking a problem from American society today and presenting it on the big-screen right in front of our eyes to remind us, not that we've forgotten, of course. It's slow-paced, depressing, but also very realistic and that's what makes this film really worth the watch.

The year is 2010 and GTX, a large corporation, has no choice but to cut jobs to improve the company's balance. A family man in Boston, a CEO, and a older employee with no hope of ever getting hired in another company because of his age all take the hit and the movie focuses on a year in their lives and their struggles in the new world without money. It's hard to feel any sympathy for the characters considering what your witnessing may be happening to you and by the end of the film you wonder what the point of it all was. To make audiences more depressed? To give them an uplifting spirit to do something about the economy? Do what? While I enjoyed most of the film, it was afterwards where I really wondered to myself why a movie like this had to be made during the recession. If you want to escape reality at the movies, then obviously, "The Company Men" wouldn't be your first choice.

Ben Affleck stars as the Boston family man named Bobby Walker. Wait, are you seriously surprised about that? Its quite obvious that Affleck isn't the best of actors, but, what is obvious is that if he is given the right material he can sure do something with it. For the past decade or so, Affleck has presented audiences with nothing but flops, really, and it was "The Town" that actually put him back on the right track. "The Company Men" keeps him on that line, and hopefully, he stays on this track. "The Company Men", of course, isn't as good as "The Town", but, Affleck sure does give a much better performance. His role as Bobby Walker is like any family man in America nowadays, he's filled with pride and determined to keep a roof over his family's head under any costs. When he gets a job with his brother-in-law, played by Kevin Costner, as a carpenter, we see the character's new view on society by the end of the film. Chris Cooper plays a CEO who gets a pink slip telling him his time has come. One of enjoys five-hundred dollar lunches and anything over price, Cooper's character, Phil, is one that always keeps in wonder to how he'll end up by the film's conclusion. Tommy Lee Jones is the third set of eyes we see through in the film and plays Gene McClary, an older man of the company who has been recently fired by his best friend, played by Craig T. Nelson. Determined to start his own firm, we see McClary's struggle in every making that dream possible, if it even is. Watching this film might be a real depressant for some, but, watching their attempts at fighting back against the economy is uplifting and might just give hope for some.

John Wells both directs and writes the film and does quite the job on both titles. Mostly a director for the hit TV series, "ER", this is Wells first full-length film. Also being the writer on "ER", this would be the first time Wells really gets a chance at making a film that counts. His work behind the lens never bothered me distracted me from the movie. Sometimes the camera was a little wobbly, but never bad enough to bash on Mr. Wells whose real appreciation goes to his very mellow-dramatic script, which isn't such a bad thing. I like to believe the script for "The Company Men" was good. The intensity and emotions behind all of these character's stays interesting from the beginning to the very end. The dialog between some of the character's may seem a bit dry in most areas, but, the overall point of the film stays fresh between the pages and never goes off topic.

"The Company Men" may not look like the perfect day at the movies, and believe me, it isn't. This is something to rent or maybe catch on a premium channel a few months after its DVD release date. The realistic, truth behind the film may be a turn-off for some, but the film stays true to the world today and I think it deserves a least your centre of a attention for a rent. The performances here are pretty good, especially Ben Affleck. This may not be Ben Affleck's best movie, but it certainly contains his best performance yet. Rent it.
Super Reviewer
January 17, 2011
The Company Men is an extremely astonishing film from a stock market crash, to job loss, to selling prized possessions and homes, this film truly shows the ups and downs of a rich mans life and just how beautiful life is even without any money. The cast is impeccably brilliant and they give just enough triumph to the movie so that every single event on screen can be believable. Since this is not based on a true story it is not the most original film, because you can kind of see the end coming as soon as the film reaches it's mid point; However, this film, for what it is and what it is trying to teach is a great one. It's sad, uplifting, gripping, and emotionally true. The Company Men is oddly a must see, but only one time around for me. It is a great subtle film that you can sit back, relax and cherish your life for what it is.
Super Reviewer
May 4, 2011
I wanted to like this film. I really did. The concept of business interests me and the plot sounded very good but I was bored to death by this overlong piece of trash. The performances were top notch but that doesn't mean that the characters were important. I just didn't care about Affleck's character, and it's pretty hard for me to dislike an Affleck film. If you're looking for a great business film, rent the original Wall Street or Up in the Air.
Super Reviewer
July 28, 2011
'The Company Men' finds no charm in the situation of its protagonists, which is understandable because its not a charming situation. That doesn't mean it makes for an entertaining film though. The script is good and the cast is very well-rounded and chosen, but the film drags on until the hour and 40 minute run time feels like 3 hours. It sacrifices an audiences' ability to watch the film with ease for an honest approach to the story and its characters. I guess you cant really blame anyone for that.
Super Reviewer
July 9, 2011
A swing and a miss. This movie had the opportunity to tell a great story about the state of the business world and decided to play it safe with fluff. That doesn't take away from the fact that it is one of the better looking films of the year (thanks completely to the greatest DP we have working today Roger Deakins) and another impressive performance by Ben Affleck. His arc could have been the entire film and I would have liked it more. The problem with the Tommy Lee Jones (he keeps looking worse with every passing film) arc is that I have a hard time believing that a CEO at his level would have this much of a problem with the layoffs. It just doesn't seem fitting seeing what these guys do on a daily basis. When making a film grounded in reality, you have to be sure that certain parts ring true. And his doesn't at all, making the hopeful ending that much more painful to watch.
Super Reviewer
½ January 19, 2011
A knockout. An absolute triumph from Director, John Wells. One of the best pictures of 2011 hands down. An astonishing, deeply moving and extraordinary movie. A remarkable piece of film truly hitting the core of anyone who is living in today's economy. It smacks you with the cold hand of reality. It packs just as much power as it does heart. A sweeping, compelling, funny and fascinating new film with a great artistic eye for storytelling and character development. The performances are beyond brilliant. A flat-out sensational all-star cast that give some of the best performances of their careers. Ben Affleck is outstanding. Kevin Costner is terrific. Chris Cooper is electric. Tommy Lee Jones is excellent. A wonderfully entertaining and incredibly inspirational film.
Super Reviewer
½ June 23, 2011
Just a genuinely great movie that has an important plot and characters that see it through. It's one thing to hear about job loss, but another to see it in front of your face. Watching entire lives crumble and dreams die is powerful even to those who know it themselves. Now it's easy to have a timely story, but you have nothing without effective characters and performances. Ben Affleck gives one of his best efforts here; it's easily one of his most self distanced roles. The supporting cast is ridiculously well put together; you can't do better than Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Costner and Chris Cooper. I like that this takes the time to go through the whole process of losing a job, a way of life and finally question the necessity of a big time job to begin with. Every moment had a purpose and every character made an impression; that's rare for movies like this. The Company Men is so realistic that you really begin to see these characters as real people and a reflection of our job market. Somehow, it avoids being a sap story at all and just pulls off being a drama that nearly everyone can relate to. The Company Men doesn't have overly depressing scenes, mopey subplots, random stabs at happiness or endless crying. It really asks you to see the story and characters for what they are and take something from it.
Super Reviewer
½ November 5, 2010
I had low expectations for this film - not sure why, it's a topical film with a great cast - but I was surprised. It's an honest story that takes place during the recent economic collapse, and it puts a new face on downsizing. It wasn't just the anonymous legions of factory workers who lost jobs, there were a lot of six-figure executives that fell as well. You can only sympathize so much with someone who can't keep a mansion, has to quit the golf club, and might even have to unload his Porsche, but it humanized those people in the middle, who weren't quite the kleptocrats, but weren't chattel either. Bit of a movie by numbers, but it's compelling right from the start, visually excellent and well-acted. See it once, it's worth it.
Super Reviewer
½ June 20, 2011
Cast: Ben Affleck, Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper, Craig T. Nelson, Maria Bello, Rosemarie DeWitt, John Doman, Tonye Patano, Cady Huffman

Director: John Wells

Summary: Written, directed and produced by John Wells ("The West Wing"), this indie drama stars Ben Affleck as a successful businessman who comes face-to-face with America's downsizing epidemic when he loses his job and is forced to take a construction gig. Rounding out the all-star cast are Kevin Costner as Affleck's brother-in-law, Tommy Lee Jones as a conflicted corporate bigwig and Chris Cooper as a paranoid executive.

My Thoughts: "Great story about how quickly you can go from top to bottom. Bobby Walker spends the majority of the film in denial. He fully believes he will find a job within days. But reality hits when he sees his kids doing without and returning items because of their financial issues. He sees that it's time to get a job, any job. He ends up working with his brother in-law who had offered a job and he so rudely shot down thinking it was beneath him. The film is something most can probably relate too considering all the jobs that have been lost and those who are still looking for work today.
The film has an amazing cast, and they all put in great performances."
Super Reviewer
March 8, 2011
Bad choice of lead with Affleck who I regard as one of the worst big name actors around but Costner and Tommy L Jones save the day just about. The film is reasonably watchable but also pretty sickening at the same time, bigtime 'suits' with huge salaries lose their jobs during hard times and cut backs and find it difficult to find more work due to their age and the climate....oh gee how my heart bleeds.
Firstly its very hard to believe people with houses the size of mansions would struggle so quickly apon losing their employment, I'm sure they would have afew gazillions in the bank and selling the house alone would cover them for AGES!! its odd how things come crashing down so fast even when they do sell the house and Porsche lol!!
The main problem is why should we care? you certainly don't feel any sympathy for them, the character Costner plays gives the obvious blue collar side to the situation that the audience would no doubt be feeling....give the 'suit' a blue collar job then proceed to mock him of his 'suit' career and his lack of real manly skills haha Its all so predictable and cliched with no characters to give a hoot about.
Super Reviewer
December 4, 2010
Realistic, poignant film on the volatility of the economic system, jobs, money and security, with spectacular cinematography by Roger Deakins and a first-rate male cast, where Chris Cooper, Craig T. Nelson and particularly Ben Affleck shine, the latter giving a fantastic performance that suits his fantastic character, the most important achievement of the script penned by John Wells, who also directs. The most overlooked film of the year.
Super Reviewer
February 8, 2011
solid effort wherein a formerly huge conglomerate has to downsize to stay solvent. worth your time, affleck is two for two ("the town") as he competently holds our interest as the center here. jones and costner pull up the thankless rear.
Super Reviewer
½ February 4, 2011

When Up In The Air came out in 2009, Jason Reitman became the first director to tackle the financial crisis head on with a brutally honest study of one man as a symbol of our increasingly dour zeitgeist. George Clooney's Ryan Bingham -- a professional firer about to get fired -- was both the corporate world's greatest terminator and its greatest victim. In a challenge to popular opinion on topics like the recession and massive layoffs, Reitman's film explored some poignant moralism and fascinating duplicity. The Company Men shares similar DNA -- it's a timely story about a money hungry corporation and the family men it feeds to the wolves in the wake of stock inflation. Yet while The Company Men finds drama in the desperation of guys stripped of their jobs and manhood, it has no heart and affords its "men" little redemption.

Ben Affleck -- fresh off writing, directing, and starring in The Town -- is the shark-suited "company man" at the movie's core. Laid off from the get-go and placed in a work relocation center, Affleck's Bobby Walker finds the going tough without Porsches, country clubs, and a five figure salary. But we do feel bad for him, especially when we learn his company GTX purged half its employees so the CEO (Craig T. Nelson) could increase his share values to half a billion dollars and build brand new headquarters. (Nice, huh.) GTX's only voice of reason is the heavy hearted, adulterer and VP Gene McClary (Tommy Lee Jones). Chris Cooper, as fellow job-hunter Phil Woodward, is the film's proverbial chopped liver and the character and Cooper's tremendous talents are criminally thrown to the wayside.

On top of feeling tired and distended, The Company Men seemed to fall from a promising start into a glum malaise of woebegone pondering and near-insights. No matter how wise Jones looks and sounds he carries no remedy for a perpetually bummed out Ben Affleck who just can't do devastation. (If the part called for nothing but smiles he would have been tops.) Writer/Director John Wells' script is filled with financial jargon and Kodak moments -- especially between Walker and his you-can-do-it wife Maggie (Rosemary Dewitt) -- which give the film an aura of credibility, but Wells comes to no great conclusions and contemplates nothing beyond the suck-fest of losing one's job.

And it does suck that Walker has to sell his Porsche and start doing carpentry work with his blue collar brother-in-law (Kevin Costner). But in the battle between CEOs and paper pushers it's never as simple as good vs. evil. Reitman's Up In The Air succeeded by making both part of the same societal persona. The Company Men is way to black and white to enlighten, or entertain.
Super Reviewer
½ January 25, 2011
Ben Affleck loses his job as a result of another round of downsizing by his company, GTX, a global shipping company who's share price is on a steady downswing. Along with him go Chris Cooper and Tommy Lee Jones. This film isn't trying to point a condescending finger at the greedy corporation. Instead, it wants the audience to live the experience of being laid off along with the characters. Those people who have actually been laid off as a result of downsizing probably faced worse problems than these three. The character I cared most about, the one played by Chris Cooper, who is 60 years old and unable to get a new job because of his age, is barely in the movie. While the movie's ambition is noble, the result is less so.
Page 1 of 80