The Company (film)

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The Company
The Company movie poster
Directed by Robert Altman
Produced by Robert Altman
Joshua Astrachan
Neve Campbell
Pamela Koffler
David Levy
Christine Vachon
Written by Barbara Turner (screenplay)
Barbara Turner &
Neve Campbell (story)
Starring Neve Campbell
Malcolm McDowell
James Franco
Music by Van Dyke Parks
Cinematography Andrew Dunn
Edited by Geraldine Peroni
Release dates
  • December 26, 2003 (2003-12-26)
Running time
112 minutes
Language English
Budget $15 million[citation needed]
Box office $6,401,690[citation needed]

The Company is a 2003 film about the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago. It was released on December 26, 2003 in the United States and around the world in the first half of 2004. The movie was directed by Robert Altman and stars Neve Campbell, who also co-wrote and co-produced the film. The movie also stars Malcolm McDowell as the ballet company's artistic director, a character based on Gerald Arpino.[1]


The Company is composed of stories gathered from the dancers, choreographers, and staff of the Joffrey Ballet. Most of the roles are played by company members. While a small subplot relates a love story between Campbell's character and a character played by James Franco, most of the movie focuses on the company as a whole, without any real star or linear plot. The many company stories woven together express the dedication and hard work that dancers must put in to their art, although they are seldom rewarded with fame or fortune.

Pieces in the film[edit]

Excerpts of the following pieces are included in the film:

  • Alwin Nikolais’s “Tensile Involvement” (opening piece, with ensemble bound by elastic)[2][3]
  • Lar Lubovitch's "My Funny Valentine" (pas de deux; the performance in the thunderstorm)[3]
  • Laura Dean's "Creative Force" (Campbell's flashback; the excerpt for 10 dancers in red costumes)[4]:23


Dance Lighting[edit]

Dance lighting for the Joffrey Ballet portions was composed by internationally recognized dance lighting designer Kevin Dreyer.


The Company was an idea of Campbell's for a long time – she began her career as a ballet dancer, having been a student at Canada's National Ballet School.[5] Altman was reportedly reluctant to direct it[6] but later agreed. Neve Campbell and James Franco prepared for their roles as restaurant workers by training under Mickaël Blais, the chef of Marche, an upscale bistro in Chicago.[7][8]


The Company received mostly positive reception from critics and currently holds a 71% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[9] Roger Ebert gave the film 3 12 stars out of four.[10] Slant Magazine called it the best movie of 2003.[11]

Conversely, Elvis Mitchell called the film "enjoyably lithe and droll" and attributed a "great deal of the film's appeal" to McDowell's performance, while noting the film "doesn't stick with you as a whole."[12] Box Office Mojo reported a worldwide box office of $6.4 million, less than half of its estimated $15 million budget.[13]


  1. ^ Review of The Company by Roger Ebert for the Chicago Sun-Times
  2. ^ a b c Leland Windreich for Ballet-Dance Magazine, January 2004 'The Company': Fleeting Events in a Dancer's World
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Mary Ellen Hunt for Ballet-Dance Magazine, January, 2004 'The Company': Altman's take on the Joffrey is artsy, not artistic
  4. ^ Office credits for The Company
  5. ^ Murray, Rebecca. "Neve Campbell Interview - The Company Movie". Retrieved 2007-01-27. 
  6. ^ [1] from Chicago Sun-Times
  7. ^ About Mickaël Blais
  8. ^ Molly Woulfe for NWI Times, November 22, 2002 Pirate flicks still shiver his timbers
  9. ^ "The Company. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2011-10-13.
  10. ^ Ebert, Roger. "The Company". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2011-10-13.
  11. ^ "The 10 Best Films of 2003" by Ed Gonzales for Slant Magazine
  12. ^ Review of The Company by Elvis Mitchell for The New York Times
  13. ^ Summary of The Company from Box Office Mojo

External links[edit]