The Company Men was one of those movies that really came and went without so much as a whimper. Starring Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper, Maria Bello, Craig T. Nelson and Kevin Costner. It was directed by tv luminary John Wells, creator of some of the biggest shows ever (who also happens to be a Peter Stark grad). You assume that a movie that just disappears like this is just not any good… but I’m here to tell you it is pretty good. It’s not going to make your top ten list, and it isn’t groundbreaking. The Company Men is made with just enough heart, technical skill and really good acting that it should not have suffered the quick demise it had.
Ben Affleck was likeable as a salesmen who loses his job after twelve years and finds the world is a cruel place. Chris Cooper is great as the guy with thirty years experience. Maria Bello is one of the better actresses over forty – and seems to have a realism that most other actresses just can’t pull off. She has model-type looks and the body of a twenty-something, but for some reason she has this tough exterior and it grounds her. I am not a Tommy Lee Jones fan when he plays stoic. I do, however, love Tommy Lee Jones when he has a tinge of rebel to his character. Like in Under Siege. Here he plays a corporate #2 who is disillusioned with his company and the path they are taking. He is floating in the abyss until he pushes back a bit.
I also really enjoyed the relationship between Affleck and his wife played by Rosemarie DeWitt. Where most films like this have the wife either being overly supportive or a complete bitch, Wells does a great job of playing DeWitt on the fence. This is a couple stretched to the absolute limits… of course they are going to have their problems. But she is supportive when she needs to be, and to the extent she needs to be.
In films such as this, I value realism… and truth. And everything about this film rang true.