The Company Men

January 27th, 2011

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The Company Men

Still of Tommy Lee Jones and Ben Affleck in The Company MenStill of Roger Deakins and John Wells in The Company MenStill of Ben Affleck and Rosemarie DeWitt in The Company MenStill of Kevin Costner and Ben Affleck in The Company MenStill of Chris Cooper in The Company Men

The story centers on a year in the life of three men trying to survive a round of corporate downsizing at a major company - and how that affects them, their families, and their communities.

Release Year: 2010

Rating: 6.8/10 (15,399 voted)

Critic's Score: 69/100

Director: John Wells

Stars: Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, Tommy Lee Jones

When the GTX Corporation must cut jobs to improve the company's balance sheet during the 2010 recession, thousands of employees will take the hit, like Bobby Walker (Ben Affleck). Bobby learns the real life consequences of not having a job. Not only does he see a change to his family lifestyle, and the loss of his home, but also his feelings of self-worth.

Ben Affleck - Bobby Walker
Tommy Lee Jones - Gene McClary
Chris Cooper - Phil Woodward
Suzanne Rico - Gail
Kent Shocknek - Rittenour
Adrianne Krstansky - Carol
Lewis D. Wheeler - Ken
Celeste Oliva - Jane
Tom Kemp - Conal
Nancy Villone - Diane
Chris Everett - Barbara
Maria Bello - Sally Wilcox
Lance Greene - Landry
Kathy Harum - Karen
Allyn Burrows - Stevens

Taglines: In America, We Give Our Lives To Our Jobs. It's Time To Take Them Back


Official Website: Official site [Japan] | The Weinstein Company [United States] |

Release Date: 27 January 2011

Filming Locations: Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $647,797 (USA) (23 January 2011) (106 Screens)

Gross: $4,439,063 (USA) (15 May 2011)

Technical Specs


Continuity: When Jim comes to Gene with a "peace offering" of Glenfiddich single malt, he pours himself a glass and places the bottle on the mantle with the back label facing out. The camera cuts to Gene, and when it cuts back to Jim, the bottle has been turned so the front label faces out.

Phil Woodward: You know the worst part?
[a beat]
Phil Woodward: The world didn't stop. The newspaper still came every morning, the automatic sprinklers went off at six. Jerry next door still washed his car every Sunday.
Phil Woodward: My life ended and nobody noticed.

User Review

Yes Virginia, unemployment hits rich people hard too

Rating: 7/10

There is something compelling yet mildly offensive about The Company Men. Set during the American economic collapse of 2008, it dwells on the human impact of corporate downsizing (a painful euphemism that pops up regularly during the film) on a fictional shipping company. Dozens of executives are ushered into unemployment as the company's owner, Jim Salinger (Craig T. Nelson) wriggles and cost-cuts to boost the flagging share price. Salinger reels off staff redundancy numbers in thousands, leaving his lawyers to decide who stays and who goes. There is a voice of conscience in all this (Gene McClary, played by Tommy Lee Jones) but it is ineffectual. Most of those to fall under the axe are, of course, blue-collar workers - but The Company Men boldly decides to show us the other side of the coin. The victims here live in wealthy neighbourhoods, drive Porsches, buy Hepplewhite furniture and borrow the company jet to ski in Aspen.

Bobby Walker (Ben Affleck) is the lead victim, a sales executive once on $120,000 a year plus bonuses and stock incentives. Cocksure and in denial of his situation, Bobby expects to walk into another job within days. But as we are shown by montages of long interview queues and full 'career centres', he's far from alone. Before long Bobby is collecting his last redundancy payment and waving ta-ta to the sports car, the golf club membership and even the family house. His wife goes back to work but this isn't enough to salvage much of their old life. The core of this movie is how Bobby struggles to recognise and adjust to his new circumstances. It's a painful reality but an easy one to empathise with, since most of us have been there ourselves.

This is where The Company Men becomes morally dubious. Bobby Walker loses more than the thousands of blue-collar workers who have shared his fate, yet he is undeniably still better off then they are. We see and hear little of their fate in this whole farrago. It is tenuously represented in the sarcasm of Bobby's brother-in-law Jack (Kevin Costner), who is a much underused character. Jack correctly thinks Bobby is an arrogant suit too concerned with wealth and ladder-climbing; he needles him about corporate America's irresponsibility and disregard for ordinary people. Yet it is Jack who offers Bobby a job with his construction firm, which he reluctantly accepts. To its credit, The Company Men doesn't fall for the trap of having them become best buddies. What it could have used is some more insight into the more profound effects that 'downsizing' has on blue-collar workers.

The Company Men is well written and skilfully directed. Affleck is in fine form, able to portray the subtle change from denial to desperation and then to despair. The material didn't stretch the rest of the cast (plenty of sighs and forlorn looks) but they nevertheless handled it with aplomb.

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