The Company Men


The Company Men

Written by 
John Wells

Director John Wells
Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones

Category    Ceasing Employment,Employee Wellness/ Life Balance,Ethics      


The Weinstein Company



Language English
113 min

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The ‘Company Men’ illustrates reality and how changes in business and economy can influence a person‟s personal life. The GTX Corporation, managed by a CEO (portrayed by actor Craig T. Nelson) who cares only about his new corporate headquarters, the stockholders and his salary - cuts divisions and lays off thousands of employees - some of whom have worked with him since the beginning. It's not that they aren't hardworking and loyal, it's just "business‟. One of the men made redundant in his late thirties is Mr. Walker (Ben Affleck). Walker is great as the proud, bitter, and then humbled white-collar executive, who has to sell his million-dollar home and Porsche, and then move in with his parents and work for his brother-in-law (Kevin Costner) constructing someone else's house; after many unsuccessful efforts to find a suitable job. It takes him a lot of time and strength to realize that he has to move on and fight for his family.

His family plays a crucial role in his life with a fully supportive wife who helps him overcome his depression. He slowly realizes that when all else fails, family remains constant and his parents and brother in law support him make it through.

The film makes us see how some profitable companies handle challenging economic situations in unethical ways. This company tries to cut cost only by laying off people although it seems that other less harmful decisions could have been taken such as not investing in a new, expensive building to move there its headquarters.

Watching "The Company Men‟, most of us can think of people like the ones who were made redundant in the film. People can be vain and full of themselves, but when things don't go their way, they can get depressed and helpless. Yes, people need to make a living, but they also need to think about what's really important in life. It also makes you understand how important it is to think positively and always fight for the people and things that matter the most in life. Success is difficult to achieve when a person keeps on having an aggressive attitude. But when the person calms down and starts to appreciate other things that are also important in life such as family and health, then opportunities and success will show up eventually. The psychological support provided by family and friends is also significant.

Balance of work and personal life is also essential. We see that one of the older employees who was made redundant decided to give an end to his life. It seems that his whole being evolved around his successful career. Losing your job for any reason, doesn't mean that your life has no meaning any more. That is why people need to always keep a balance in life and appreciate other important things outside of work that make them happy and offer them a sense of self-actualization and self-fulfillment.

"Change is hard because people overestimate the value of what they have - and underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving that up...‟ - James Belasco and Ralph Stayer

The film ends with a positive stroke. When Tommy Lee Jones is challenged by his former friend and CEO about his share value since being made redundant he decides to buy one of the shipyards sold by GTX, when they laid off people. He hires his former colleague Walker at a significant salary reduction but they have the drive and motivation to start up successfully and compete with their former company.

Contributed by: Marianna Efstathiou