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Movie Review

The Company Men

MPAA Rating: R for language and brief nudity.

Reviewed by: Alaina Kaufman

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
1 hr. 44 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
December 17, 2010 (LA/NYC)
January 21, 2011 (wide)
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Relevant Issues
Copyright, The Weinstein Company

the affects of losing one’s job

how a man’s vocation sometimes defines him

couples under severe stress due to finances

TRUE LOVE—What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer

Lavish material possessions are far less important than family, friends and love.

the proud will be humbled / importance of genuine humility

Anxiety and Worry… What does the Bible say? Answer

DEPRESSION—Are there biblical examples of depression and how to deal with it? Answer

What should a Christian do if overwhelmed with depression? Answer


SUICIDE—What does the Bible say? Answer

If a Christian commits suicide, will they go to Heaven? Answer


importance of hope

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Paradise or Pain? Why is the world the way it is?
Why is the world the way it is? If God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and loving, would He really create a world like this? (filled with oppression, suffering, death and cruelty) Answer

the sins of adultery and fornication in the Bible

Featuring: Ben AffleckBobby Walker
Kevin CostnerJack
Tommy Lee JonesGene McClary
Chris CooperPhil Woodward
Maria BelloSally
Rosemarie DeWitt … Maggie
Craig T. Nelson … Salinger
John Doman … Dysert
Kathy Harum … Karen, Gene McClary’s secretary
more »
Director: John Wells
Producer: The Weinstein Company
Battle Mountain Films
more »
Distributor: The Weinstein Company

“In America, we give our lives to our jobs. It’s time to take them back.”

“The Company Men,” a drama set in high society present day, begins by laying out the lives of three men working for one company, GTX. Gene, the highest on the company ladder is best friends with the CEO, with whom he started GTX. Gene is Bobby’s boss, who is an up and coming salesman. But within the first ten minutes of the movie, Bobby gets fired from his job by Gene’s best friend, the CEO. Most of the movie centers around Bobby and his family. He has a wife and two kids, and they all live in an enormous house and have a club membership at the golf course. Phil, who has worked for the company for thirty years and began in the warehouse, has an overpaid position, and, once Bobby gets fired, starts worrying. He has a daughter getting ready to go to college at an elite school and a wife who spends most of her days in bed.

Thus begins the downward spiral of events that leads to the two other men being fired, and the remainder of the movie shows how the three men deal with their new lives in different ways.

The reasons why or why not to watch this movie can easily be told by looking at each of the three men. Partway through the movie, we discover Gene is having an affair. This is where the nudity comes in. Though it is brief, it is very clear. I was very disheartened when I learned of the affair, because I had come to respect his character as being the one to stand up for the rights of his employees. Even to the end, he holds his stand for justice.

Then there is Bobby, who was so caught up in the world of wealth and moving up, that he is completely lost when it comes to dealing with the loss of a job, and, for some time, denies its effects. His lesson is one in humility and trust. He must humble himself in order to provide for his family and trust his family, at the same time.

Phil is another case altogether. He is well over 60 years old and sees his life as hopeless. His wife is not supportive and makes him leave the house and return at the same times each day to keep up the farce that he is still employed! He ends his life in a miserable way, and I couldn’t help but think about how many people give up on life like that, because they don’t have the support of their family or choose the support of God.

Clearly, this movie is rated “R” for a good reason. There is no reason why any child or teen, for that matter, should be watching this movie, since there is no moral learning they can glean at such an age. No, this is a movie for adults who are in the same place as these 3 men. But even then, there is no one who chooses to trust God after such a devastating blow.

Gene depends on his wealth. Bobby depends on himself and eventually his family. Phil gives into death. I wanted to scream that there is another choice. In that way, I feel the producer did not do a good job of showing a true depiction of what can happen after a layoff—which I felt was the point of the whole movie. This movie had the potential to be truly inspiring, but the most inspiring thing that happens is that Bobby learns to trust his wife. This is a good lesson, but it is not the pinnacle of every man’s life. If it is, then countless men have failed.

No, the only immovable One we can trust is God alone, and He is the only one who loves us irrevocably and unconditionally. Unfortunately, these godly attributes are given to Bobby’s wife.

I would suggest this movie to those in each family who are the ones who feel the most pressure in their jobs. And only then, if the language and nudity don’t offend. Gene can teach that we need to stand up for the little guy. Bobby can teach that sometimes we need some humbling. Phil can teach us not to take our own way out. THERE IS ANOTHER WAY.

“I am the way, the truth and the life” —Jesus (John 14:6).

Violence: Minor / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Moderate

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—I really liked this movie, although, at times, it was hard to watch, because it rings so true with what many people are going through. It ended with hope, though. There were great, strong performances all around…

My only complaint is the excess profanity. There were so many f-words, I lost count! While I’ve learned to let this stuff go in one ear and out the other, now I can’t recommend this really great movie to people who are more sensitive to it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Kadie Jo, age 19 (USA)
PositiveKathy HarumAs a committed Catholic Christian, I must object to The Christian Spotlight reviewer’s “Morally Offensive” label for this movie. I played the role of Tommy Lee Jones’s secretary, Karen, in this movie, and I took my choice to perform this role very seriously. I read the whole script (the original having extra very clear redemptive moments that were cut in the final version) and after prayer decided, yes, it is certainly an adult film, but one with the silver lining of the message of redemption throughout.

So many Hollywood films do not even mention reference to God, Christ or His Church in any positive light and are often anti-Faith. This film is not against God, and because of 2 very well placed moments, it is very clear that the screenwriter and director, John Wells, intended us to receive a Biblical message. The 2 scenes are:

The daughter of Ben Affleck’s character is the one who reveals during her offering of grace before their family meal that her dad has lost his job. Out of the mouth of babes truth is revealed, and her father can no longer hide his vulnerable state, his need of rescue—so much like all of us before we know to accept the saving grace of God.

The second scene, that goes by so quickly but is so important, is the scene in Ben’s character’s parent’s house where he is in bed with his wife. They are both there because his parents rescued them and took them in, giving them shelter and safety, when they are at their lowest. Ben’s character says, “I couldn’t wait to get away from this house, this church… ”. But there he is finding safety and a new start in the arms of his Church-going parents, who clearly represent the ever open arms of the merciful Savior! It is back in his parent’s house that he finds the help he needs to transition to a better, truer life.

Also, yes there is a lot of bad language, but a film that really holds the mirror up to the business world cannot shy away from such language. It is there, and it is real (however, I do agree that his wife’s character did not have to have such a foul mouth).

As Christian artists, there are times when we have to find a way to point to Christ and His Mercy without being preachy. We need to begin the conversion process for others, sometimes in ways that are almost subliminal, because our culture is so far gone. People are so educated in worldliness now that they cannot even hear Truth anymore. Christian artists shouldn’t always have to worry about not offending the faithful or needing such pristine and perfect Biblical themes and behavior that we risk never opening the door to the hard-hearted.

I, too, felt like crying out to the sad character who chooses despair that there is another way! There is a rescue! But might that not be what the filmmaker wanted you to feel? We need more filmmakers making great films where the Christian Worldview kind of sneaks in. We need to take the Good News into enemy territory and, sometimes like St. Paul, we become all things to all people.

The nudity was brief, as a woman gets dressed after sexual relations, but you never see any actually graphic sexual behavior in the film.

I may not agree with all John Well’s beliefs as a Christian, but I know he prays and worships with his family. Let us grow up as Christians and recognize that some movies will never be for younger viewers, but still have value for the Gospel.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Kathy, age 59 (USA)


Movie Critics

…Strong Romantic worldview with light Christian element due to main character’s turning to faith in a general God… plus marriage is ultimately portrayed in positive light and the movie is generally pro-capitalist… frequent foul language includes at least 45 obscenities…
—Ted Baehr, Movieguide

…If you can tell me what I was supposed to take away from “The Company Men,” I would be greatly appreciative. So far as I can tell the moral of the story is that in the current economic climate you better hope you don’t lose your job, but if you do, you damn well better hope you know someone with millions of dollars who can come along and set up a new company so you can get another one. Other than that, you’re all screwed. …
—Brad Brevet, Rope of Silicon

…Although the actors are convincing, and the film well-crafted, “The Company Men” delivers few satisfactory character portraits because the movie isn’t really about characters, it’s about economic units. …“The Company Men” offers no great elation or despair. Its world is what it is. We all live in it. … [3/4]
—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

…one of the best films of the year, not just because of the incisive script and solid performances by every single cast member, but also because of its perceptive look at how a man is defined by his vocation and how he is affected by the loss of a job. …
—Phil Boatwright, Preview Family Movie and TV Review

…a well-performed but curiously unaffecting tale of corporate callousness and career retrenchment. …it tries to do too much and ends up feeling thin…
—Christian Hamaker, Crosswalk

…a tasty script—sharp, funny, touching—and his troupe of pros makes the most of it. …I applaud the note of hope that Wells chooses for his epilogue, a nod to our entrepreneurial spirit, our desire to build and rebuild. … [A-]
—Gary Thompson, Philadelphia Daily News

…a somber drama… “The Company Men” takes on its big subject forthrightly, and, in an era of service industries and financial instruments, it celebrates the virtue of making useful things. …
—Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal

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