‘The Company Men’ review: Life’s Highs and Layoffs

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

LICH rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

Debutante director John Wells, also writing and producing this human corporate experience, touches all the right emotions and upheavals in this downsized economy drama. Taking a vertical and in-depth look at the fictional GTX shipping company, he gently assures you that it could well be your organization that he has in mind. And not just in America, the underbelly of globalization is that when a company’s stock sneezes, its employees shiver, and justifiably so.

It may seem simplistic in its approach, but you can’t help but empathize with CFO Gene Mclary (the craggy Tommy Lee Jones doing a superbly pained and conscience-carrying turn) as he’s forced by his CEO James Salinger (Craig T. Nelson, very good) to throw employees under the bus. Of the lot is the rolling-in-success-and-mortgage Bobby Walker (Ben Affleck smoothly segueing from a Porsche owner to an anxiety-driven passenger). While his character may find some life truths hammered out to him by his brother in-law Jack Dolan (Kevin Costner, making you wish you weren’t tied to any loans and only to a can of chilled Bud), it is fired-in-the-round-two of layoffs Phil Woodward that you root for. Thirty years in the company, the only job he’s ever had, rising from the shop floor to a senior manager position, what’s he to do? The brilliant Chris Cooper plays him with bite, anger, and weariness, making him a part of your company journey. In Cooper’s gravelly, single-malt voice and desperate eyes do you see the hopelessness of it all. That finally when it comes down to it, you’re as valuable as the price of the page your appointment letter’s printed on. 

LICH ratings chart
1 out of 5 stars (1 / 5): Don’t bother
2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5): Not too great
3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5): Worth a watch
4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5): Very good
5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5): Drop everything else NOW

The Company Men (2010) on IMDb Movie data powered by IMDb. All images owned by the producers.

The Company Men is rated A ((Restricted to adults) There’s language and brief nudity. 
The Company Men
Director John Wells Running Time 1h 44min
Writer John Wells
Stars Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Costner
Genres  Drama

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