The Company Men Reviews
"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.
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.
Length: 104 minutes
Review: 7 out of 10
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.