The Work

Critics Consensus

The Work takes a gut-wrenching look at lives all too often written off as lost causes, persuasively arguing that growth and change can be waiting where we least expect it.



Total Count: 56


Audience Score

User Ratings: 921
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Movie Info

Set inside a single room in Folsom Prison, "The Work" follows three men from outside as they participate in a four-day group therapy retreat with level-four convicts. Over the four days, each man in the room takes his turn at delving deep into his past. The raw and revealing process that the incarcerated men undertake exceeds the expectations of the free men, ripping them out of their comfort zones and forcing them to see themselves and the prisoners in unexpected ways. "The Work" offers a powerful and rare look past the cinder block walls, steel doors and the dehumanizing tropes in our culture to reveal a movement of change and redemption that transcends what we think of as rehabilitation.

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Critic Reviews for The Work

All Critics (56) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (56)

  • More than just an advertisement for the process depicted, The Work carries a profound, implicit point about a culture that encourages men to bottle up what they feel, then condemns them after those emotions express themselves in violent, destructive ways.

    Dec 14, 2017 | Full Review…

    A.A. Dowd

    AV Club
    Top Critic
  • Opening an aperture into a process so ego-stripping that it feels unseemly to witness, "The Work" is enlightening yet also punishing.

    Oct 26, 2017 | Full Review…
  • A simple, tense, gritty auditing of a collective unburdening that obviously brings some needed clarity, and the promise of rehabilitation, to some hurt, searching souls.

    Oct 25, 2017 | Full Review…

    Robert Abele

    Top Critic
  • By simply watching the participants talk about their feelings, sometimes in the vaguest of terms, McLeary illustrates how men build strong façades to conceal their pain from others and themselves.

    Oct 25, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • The movie valuably demonstrates how, for some, when it comes to rehabilitation, it's never too late to do "the work."

    Oct 24, 2017 | Full Review…
  • Just spending time with this motley crew makes the world seem a saner place.

    Sep 8, 2017 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Work

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