The Business of Strangers

May 25, 2006

I saw this movie almost two weeks ago and it is still stuck in my head.

The Business of Strangers is one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long, long time. It’s the story of a bizarre night shared by a corporate executive and her assistant. They start out as complete strangers, rhythmically moving from enemy to friend and back again, before ultimately ending up as strangers again. Oh yeah, and in between, they totally jack up a fratty headhunter – but that’s secondary to the relationship between the two women. Control is the underlying theme of the movie – at first, it’s hard to tell who’s in control of the situation, but it moves into focus as the manipulator becomes the manipulatee – is “manipulatee” even a word?

Julia Stiles benefits greatly from a phenomenon called “Talent Run-off.” Stiles is serviceable in her role, but no great shakes. However, Stockard Channing has such an excess of talent that some of it inevitably rubs off on Stiles. Too bad the effect wasn’t longer lasting. The Prince and Me? Huh? WTF?

So this is a response to Neil LaBute’s In the Company of Men. Okay. In the Company of Men is another movie I’ve been avoiding like the plague. I just don’t feel like being that depressed. I don’t need a movie to tell me what SHITHOLES men can be.

I’m sensing a trend in my interest towards films with office violence, specifically those involving women and/or revenge. Hmmm…wonder what that’s all about? Next on my list…The Temp. I would put Nine to Five on the list, but I don’t think it’s quite violent enough. Maybe repeat viewings of Fight Club and American Psycho will also feed my frenzy?

Year – 2001
Rating – R
Runtime – 84 minutes
Genre – Drama
Director(s) – Patrick Stettner
Writer(s) – Patrick Stettner
Actor(s) – Stockard Channing, Julia Stiles, Fred Weller, Mary Testa, Jack Hallett
BOB Rating – Four BOBs
Favorite Quote – "Nobody ends up being what they really want - it's part of life. It's called growing up." - Julie (Stockard Channing)