Speaking of the Recession (as I have been in these last few posts, among other things) I just saw The Company Men and feel compelled to write about it.
I wonder sometimes how this recessionary period will look, historically, once more time has passed. Will it be seen as a period of massive change, best and worst of times but a necessary portal into the future – like the beginnings of the Industrial Age? Or will it be seen as a temporarily bad period, like the US Depression, that caused pain and damage, all of which was more than offset by events of the following decade(s)? Or like the early years of AIDS – in which much lasting damage was done because of the ideologies in place at the time? Or (worst case) a period that seemed bad at the time, but was actually mild in comparison to what came after. Like the Weimar Republic in Germany – creating conditions necessary for unspeakable horrors?
In any case, whether constructive change process that bore some cost, or inherently destructive period which could have been avoided/minimized, or something else entirely, the personal impacts felt momentous at the time, and this film does a great job of capturing them.
All the acting is excellent: Ben Affleck (just loved him in Argo recently also), Rosemarie DeWitt (whose work I didn’t know, but who is really great in this), Chris Cooper, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Costner and others.
And I felt like it captured well the changes so many had to go through, the change in the US that happened to many in the middle class/upper middle class. And which didn’t effect (negatively, anyway) the main CEO guy. Ways in which folks helped each other. The kids, responding to the best of their ability. I agree it does hit men harder, because they have their identities more inextricably linked with their work, among other things.
I liked that it didn’t feel as overwrought as Margin Call, another film related to these events. That one had an uneven tone that was distracting, a lack of emotional focus, and an idealogy of some kind overlaid towards the end (just was ready for it to be done by then). Instead, The Company Men is more simply about the emotional impacts and the choices confronting people.
I’m glad it had the ending it did. Those last few scenes – thought I heard Ben’s (I think real-life) Southie (South Boston) speech back in place, also fun.. was his parent’s home around there or something possibly? Or maybe just was something they didn’t sound-edit out. (I’m an expert in all that, having seen Postcards from the Edge, you know). Or maybe I imagined it.
Anyway, good entry into times-of-our-lives film category, IMHO. Hopefully times are getting/will get better, and the pain of this period will become temporary – in which case films like this can be informative as well as entertaining.