When you devote yourself to work, losing your job can be difficult to deal with. You can become angry, turn to despair, or have the drive to push on through the bouts of rejection.
These issues are prevalent in John Wells’ The Company Men. The film focuses on how three men deal with the downsizing of transportation corporation, GTX.
Gene McClary (Tommy Lee Jones) founded the company with best friend and boss James Salinger (Craig T. Nelson), but finds himself having a hard time dealing with the cutbacks the company is making. Gene believes in being loyal to his employees, while Salinger is more interested in pleasing the stockholders than doing right by his employees.
One of the first people to be fired is sales director, Bobby Walker (Ben Affleck). Bobby lives in a big suburban home with his wife Maggie (Rosemarie DeWitt) and two kids, drives a Porsche, and has a pretty good golf swing. Bobby has a lot of pride and doesn’t want anyone to know he lost his job. He believes he needs to look successful in order to land another job. With the support of his family, Bobby is able to cope with the rejection.
Next to go is Phil Woodward (a remarkable Chris Cooper), a man pushing 60 who has devoted his entire adult life to GTX. Phil came up the ranks from the factory room floor and worked his way up to headquarters as an executive. Phil looks for jobs but soon realizes companies see more value in younger workers. This constant rejection leads him down a road of anger and despair.
The acting in the film is top notch, from the lead actors down to the supporting cast. The standout supporting player is Kevin Costner, who plays Bobby’s brother-in-law and hardworking carpenter, Jack Dolan.
Aside from being a bit too sentimental, overall the film was a good, genuine heartfelt story about loss and resiliency.