The Company Men (2010) Will Work for Food
The Company Men, written and directed by John Wells, is a movie that takes on a huge mission—making an audience sympathize with a bunch of affluent corporate-types who are suddenly jobless. Who amongst us isn’t or doesn’t know someone who has been the victim of “downsizing”? A brief glance at a newspaper’s real estate section or realtor.com provides us with a reminder of how many people couldn’t keep up the payments on their homes; look at the want-ads and see how few jobs are available. Headlines memorialize corporate greed and document unemployment statistics. (And do we need to be reminded that brothers-in-law can be jackasses?)
With a story where the top dogs become the underdogs, The Company Men gives us a peek into affluent homes—tasteful residences chock full of the best of everything. Expensively dressed men and women occupy impeccably furnished spaces that seem to provide for their every need and comfort. But what happens when there is no more cash to support such a lifestyle?
Ben Affleck stars as Bobby Walker, a likeable guy who works for transportation giant GTX until two shipyards are shut down and his job (along with thousands of others) is eliminated. Wife Maggie (Rosemarie Dewitt in a stand-out performance) is supportive but concerned and wants to immediately cut back on expenses. Bobby is not as concerned, believing he will quickly find a job—certainly before his severance checks run out. He is more troubled that someone might learn he is unemployed before he secures another position.
Further up the corporate ladder, and after the next round of downsizing, Phil Woodward (Chris Cooper) finds himself without a job, and when he tells his friend and boss, Gene McClary (Tommy Lee Jones), McClary attempts to take up his cause, only to find that he, too, has been axed.Continued on the next page