Ebert begins by saying that happiest people he meets are those with “real jobs”: a Mac tutor, a doctor, a set designer, a stagehand, a heating and air-conditioning man, a lawyer, a Web designer, my editor and an animator. All of these people work hard, know what they're doing, think it's worth doing, enjoy it and take pride in it.
He has a different take on the jobs of people in the movie who have been largely involved in “making money for the stockholders."
They focus on moving money around, hiring and firing, cutting costs, serving the bottom line. They are caregivers for corporations, which would be more satisfactory if corporations were not essentially balance sheets. I know the Supreme Court has ruled that corporations are individuals, but when did one ever tell you a good joke?
“The Company Men" follows the stories of characters who have oriented their lives around a corporation once named General Transportation Systems. Years ago, this company involved two men who began building ships; small ones at first, and then big ones. Now it's called GTX, which is how we spell Acme these days. Caught in the economic downturn, GTX is downsizing, and some of its employees are discovering their primary occupation was making and spending a lot of money, and that without those jobs, there isn't much they really know how to do….
Employees of corporations are like free-ranging scavenger cells. When the corporation inhales in good times, they find themselves in a warm place with good nurture. When it exhales in bad times, they go spinning into the vast, indifferent world....
“The Company Men" offers no great elation or despair. Its world is what it is. We all live in it.
Read his full review here.
A different kind of organization
The movie--and the review--continue the Hollywood line that today's workplace is a spiritual desert, which was also explored in Up in the Air, with George Clooney. To be sure, most large organizations are still like this.
But there is little hint here that there are other organizations that are being run very differently. To find out about them, read my article: