A Family Man


A Family Man

Written by 
Bill Dubuque

Director Mark Williams
Gerard Butler, Gretchen Mol, Alison Brie, Anupam Kher, Alfred Molina, Willem Dafoe

Category    Employee Wellness/ Life Balance      


Vertical Entertainment



Language English
108 min

Tell A Friend

Add to my Viewing List


For the – many – fans of Gerard Butler, watching him in the ordinary role of an ambitious head-hunter, as well as a husband and a father, is still not disappointing. The film, although not lacking in clichés, brings out interesting topics relating to work and work-life matters, in a subtle drama.

The story revolves around Dane Jensen, a successful Chicago-based corporate head-hunter, striving to close deals in a survival-of-the fittest boiler room. As the film opens Jensen is shown to be focused on his job, but he also tries to be a family man. His boss Ed Blackridge is offering Jensen a promotion that will lead to Jensen controlling the company. But in order to secure the promotion, he must beat his ambitious rival Lynn Wilson's numbers. Jensen's focus on the job becomes a detriment to his family. His wife Elise asks for more of his time with the family. When one of their children gets diagnosed with cancer, Jensen takes a deeper approach to life and also a different attitude to work. What made work come in stark contrast to his family life to begin with, now seems to merge into a desire to treat both under the scope of a single meaning – do good and spend meaningful time, whether at work or with family.

As a team leader at work we watch him being passionate, competitive and relentless. He gives drive to his team, he follows-up, and he trains with on-the-job coaching and builds important relationships with peers and clients alike. It is these relationships and his renewed attitude towards work,that will move him to the next step in his career. One unexpected aspect of A Family Man is the way it celebrates older people; an entire sub-plot is devoted to Alfred Molina as an unemployed engineer who can’t get a job because he’s in his 50s. When Jensen gives away commission in order for Alfred Molina to get the job he out of all candidates is most suitable for, he himself not only misses the opportunity to get a promotion but is actually sacked. His ruthless boss however, in a rare gesture of sensitivity towards his employee personal/family challenges with a sick son, releases him from his non-compete agreement. Jensen starts his own company and Alfred Molina will be the first to return the good he formerly received.

In a rather daft moment of confrontation with his wife, Dane, whilst still working, he calls himself “an American hero”, a cliché for everyman who works overwhelming amounts of time with the pretext it is to the family’s benefit. And even if they both laugh at this ‘statement’, they realise it is a question of priorities. The couple finds new ways of communicating through their children , and ultimate find a balance only their son’s saviour from near death can bring in their circumstances. This is a film with enough depth for the matters treated, to leave you with a hopeful sense of work and life reconciliation.


Contributed by: Andria Antoniadou