Working Girl (1988)
Never burn bridges. Today’s junior prick, tomorrow’s senior partner!
— Katharine Parker
I have meant to watch Mike Nichol’s film, Working Girl, for a while now. It took a great list from Heather from Movie Mobsters putting out the Top Ten Sigourney Weaver Roles/Performances to get me to see it. The term “working girl” felt very stuck in the 80s. I thought the movie would feel a little dated from women to connect to in the new millennium. It does, but there is a sweet story at the heart of it.
This Cinderella story in a yuppie setting starts with the a frustrated temp named Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith) quits her last job when one of the bosses, Bob Speck (Kevin Spacey) made sexual advances toward her in the backseat of limo. One of the workers at the temp agency (Olympia Dukakis) warns her it was her last chance, because she quit two previous jobs before that.
Tess goes to work for a prestigious brokerage firm where she the tutelage of Mergers and Acquisitions director, Katharine Parker (Weaver). Katharine wants to show Tess the ropes of how to make in the cutthroat business world. Tess feels that Katharine is trying to help her make the transition from the minor league to the big leagues. Tess re-evaluating her life, what she has accomplished and what still need to be achieved. She has a tumultuous relationship with her live-in, Mick (Alec Baldwin) who she caught cheating on her with a mutual friend.
One day, Tess confides in Katharine about an idea of a powerful company, Trask Industries want to acquire a television station, but she had an idea of having Trask (Philip Bosco) to buy a radio station. It would be a smoother acquisition without having to deal with the legalities of a foreign company buy a television. Katharine takes it under advisement. Later, she tells Tess that the committee did not like her idea.
Katharine goes on a skiing trip in Europe where she has a freak accident on the slopes, breaking her leg. She wants Tess to take care of her place while she spends weeks recuperating. While Tess was at Katharine’s loft, she stumbles on evidence suggesting that Katharine took her idea to radio expert, Jack Trainer (Harrison Ford). Feeling betrayed by Katharine, Tess is on a mission to get her credit for her idea by assuming Katharine’s identity for a short while.
This movie was nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture, Director, Actress for Griffith and Supporting Actress for Cusack and Weave and it won for Carey Simon’s original song, “Let the River Run” that plays during the opening credits of this movie. I would just like to know, why Cusack was nominated for this movie? She was a secondary character, Tess’s best friend in the periphery. She had no gravitas like Ms. Weaver did in the movie. She was so cold and calculating, but she wasn’t a monster. It was subdued evil witch of a boss.
The beginning of this film was very slow to build up, but it was satisfying when the climax happened. I was very distracted by the blown out, heavily hairsprayed bouffant hairdos the women. At least it was tone down near the middle. I loved the chemistry between Griffith and Ford. The story was good in parts, but it has this strange dynamics. You basically have to act like a cold-hearted, backstabbing bitch to make it in business. Great lessons for young professional women to live on.
Judgment: The subject may be dated, but an enjoyable in the end.
Posted on June 12, 2010, in 1988, Academy Award Winner, Comedy, Drama, Romantic and tagged Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Joan Cusack, Kevin Spacey, Melanie Griffith, Mike Nichols, Oliver Platt, Olympia Dukakis, Philip Bosco, Sigourney Weaver, Working Girl. Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.