Watching John Wells’s The Company Men, I couldn’t help but recall the emergence of the faceless proletariat drones from their subterranean prison in Fritz Lang’s silent-film classic Metropolis from 1927. True, the systems employing the workers depicted in the two films are superficially quite different. On the one hand, few films seem a more scathing commentary on the evils of communism than Metropolis, with its critique of the expendability of the worker masses employed by a city ruler. On the other, the Global Transportation Systems (or GTX) executives in The Company Men would probably be viewed by many Americans as ruggedly individualistic capitalists who have deservedly eaten their slice of the American pie. However, the end results of the economic philosophies underlying the two films are not so dissimilar. Slaves towing the corporate line are just as expendable (and faceless) as slaves toiling for a commonwealth.
It’s an ugly truth: so many marriages ferment into shams, particularly as the couples that enter into them pass out of the luster of youth and into shriveled old age, realizing that their scraggly loins no longer burn with desire for their partners. In Hope Springs, Kay Soames (Meryl Streep) is determined that her marriage to her husband Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) isn’t going to become one more connubial geriatric case. To try to get the marital juices flowing again, Kay purchases a getaway package to a small village where marriage counselor Bernie Fields (Steve Carrell) is in residence.