The Work (2017) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Work (2017)

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Critic 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.

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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 (41) | Top Critics (9)

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

October 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.

October 25, 2017 | Full Review…
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.

October 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."

October 24, 2017 | Full Review…

Some context is lost in favour of a lot of weeping and wailing, but this remains an eye-opening experience.

September 7, 2017 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Say what you will about prison's capacity to reform, but this documentary makes clear that in its own special way, the "work" is working.

March 24, 2017 | Full Review…

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