The Company Men
|The Company Men|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||John Wells|
|Produced by||John Wells
Claire Rudnick Polstein
|Written by||John Wells|
Tommy Lee Jones
|Music by||Aaron Zigman|
|Editing by||Robert Frazen|
|Studio||The Weinstein Company
Battle Mountain Films
Spring Creek Productions
|Distributed by||The Weinstein Company|
|Running time||113 minutes|
It premiered at the 26th Sundance Film Festival on January 22, 2010 and had a one-week run in December 10, 2010 to be eligible for the year's Academy Awards. The film was commercially released in the United States and Canada on January 21, 2011.
When the multi-billion dollar publicly held corporation Global Transportation Systems ("GTX") is downsized in the midst of the recession, many employees are fired, including Bobby Walker (Ben Affleck). Walker is a white-collar, corporate ladder-climbing employee with a six-figure salary, a wife, and a teenage son and younger daughter.
Walker gets outplacement services from GTX, but without success, gradually loses luxuries such as his country club membership and his Porsche. He finally must sell his expensive house (with a large mortgage) and move his family in with his parents. Ultimately Walker is forced to take a manual labor job working for his blue-collar brother-in-law, Jack Dolan (Kevin Costner), installing drywall.
Company CEO James Salinger (Craig T. Nelson) suffers no misfortune during the crisis. His longtime friend and first employee, Gene McClary (Tommy Lee Jones), challenges his strategy of employee cutbacks and asks whether it is ethical to spend money on building a new corporate headquarters while laying off employees. Angry with McClary's question, Salinger asserts that the deep cuts are necessary to increase profits, to keep the company in business, and to satisfy stockholders.
Later, it is determined that an additional round of lay-offs is necessary. Senior manager Phil Woodward (Chris Cooper), who over the course of 30 years had risen from the factory floor to the corporate offices (a decidedly rare accomplishment), is also fired. When McClary demands of senior HR manager Sally Wilcox (Maria Bello) – who is also McClary's mistress – that Woodward be rehired immediately, she tells him that he too is being fired.
Woodward's life quickly falls apart as his former colleagues abandon him and employer after employer tells him he is either too old to start a new career, or too old to do jobs that those half his age find difficult. At his wife's request, Woodward goes out every morning as usual with his briefcase to keep his situation secret from the neighbors, but he cannot do anything to abate his mounting bills or his daughter's impending college tuition bill. Frustrated and depressed, he commits suicide by carbon-monoxide poisoning.
McClary is a wealthy man as a shareholder of the firm (his GTX stock options go up due to the downsizing), but he feels guilty about his company ruining so many lives and, instead, would rather put people to work. Feeling the need for a change, he leaves his wife and starts his own business. Walker is the first person he hires.
Walker arrives at the bare offices to help start a new business composed of many former GTX employees.
- Ben Affleck as Bobby Walker
- Tommy Lee Jones as Gene McClary
- Chris Cooper as Phil Woodward
- Kevin Costner as Jack Dolan
- Rosemarie DeWitt as Maggie Walker
- Maria Bello as Sally Wilcox
- Craig T. Nelson as James Salinger
- Eamonn Walker as Danny
- Nancy Villone as Diane Lindstrom
- Tom Kemp as Conal Doherty
- Dana Eskelson as Diedre Dolan
- Patricia Kalember as Cynthia McClary
- Cady Huffman as Joanna
- Anthony O'Leary as Drew Walker
- Angela Rezza as Carson Walker
- Kent Shocknek as Herb Rittenour
- Tonye Patano as Joyce Robertson
- Kathy Harum as Karen
- Lance Greene as Dick Landry
The Company Men is directed by John Wells in his feature film debut. He also wrote the screenplay and produced the film. The project was first announced in January 2008 by the newly formed production company Berk/Lane Entertainment. In September 2008, actor Ben Affleck joined the cast. By March 2009, actors Kevin Costner and Tommy Lee Jones joined the cast. Production began the following month in Boston, Massachusetts. It completed in June 2009. Partial filming for the production occurred in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston and also in the Boston suburbs of Wellesley, Framingham, Marblehead, and the Quincy shipyard.
The Company Men had its world premiere at the 26th Sundance Film Festival on January 26, 2010. The film was purchased by The Weinstein Company, which committed to print and advertising commitment and a theatrical release in the United States and Canada in a mid-seven figure deal.
The film had a minimal release in Los Angeles and New York City on December 10, 2010. The release lasted a week to become eligible for nominations for the 83rd Academy Awards. It had a limited release in 106 theaters in the United States and Canada on January 21, 2011.
The Company Men has received generally positive reviews. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes reports that 67% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 161 reviews, with an average score of 6.4/10.
Many critics praised the film for telling a story that reflects the economic climate of the United States in the first decade of the 2000s. Rex Reed of The New York Observer stated the film "does a piercing job of making you feel the dehumanizing effects that losing a job can have on grown men, but it's more truthful and devastating than that." Stephen Holden of The New York Times also notes parallels between the 2009 film Up in the Air and praised the performances from Affleck, Jones and Cooper. Chicago Tribune's Michael Phillips praised the cast, but criticized the story, saying that the actual status of the economic climate "demands a tougher, gutsier script."
- Peters, Derek (January 14, 2008). "Wells, Levin stroll down Berk/Lane". Variety.
- Zeitchik, Steven (September 24, 2008). "Affleck eyeing good 'Company' of real-life drama". reuters.com (Reuters).
- Fleming, Michael (March 18, 2009). "Costner, Jones are 'Company Men'". Variety.
- "Jones and Jackson Reunite for HBO Drama" Retrieved September 5, 2009
- "'The Company Men' film heads to Boston in April" Retrieved September 5, 2009
- "First Look: John Wells' The Company Men" Retrieved September 5, 2009
- "Ben Affleck filming 'The Company Men' in Roxbury" Retrieved October 4, 2009
- Swart, Sharon; McClintock, Pamela (January 24, 2010). "Lionsgate digs 'Buried' at Sundance". Variety.
- McNary, Dave (March 24, 2010). "Weinstein Co. nabs 'Company Men'". Variety.
- Corliss, Richard (December 12, 2010). "The Company Men: You're Hired!". Time. "...the film is playing for a week in New York and Los Angeles, to qualify for this year's Oscars."
- Abrams, Rachel (January 21, 2011). "Will Par's 'Strings' resonate?". Variety.
- "The Company Men". boxofficemojo.com. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 21, 2011.
- "The Company Men Movie Reviews, Pictures". rottentomatoes.com. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 21, 2011.
- Reed, Rex (December 7, 2010). "Up the Creek Without a Paycheck: The Company Men Paints a Moving, Nuanced Picture of Life After Layoffs". observer.com. Retrieved January 21, 2011.
- Holden, Stephen (December 9, 2010). "Perils of the Corporate Ladder: It Hurts When You Fall". nytimes.com. Retrieved January 21, 2011.
- Phillips, Michael (January 20, 2011). "Strong effort yields merely adequate "Company"". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved January 21, 2011.
- Denby, David (December 8, 2010). "The Best (and Worst) Films of the Year". Retrieved January 21, 2011.
- Official website
- The Company Men at the Internet Movie Database
- The Company Men at allmovie
- The Company Men at Rotten Tomatoes
- The Company Men at Box Office Mojo