Work-related comedies and dramas rank towards the top of my list of favorite movie genres. Comedies, dramas, and thrillers based on the workplace’s quirks are all genres I enjoy, and I’m a big fan of those that focus on a character who loses his or her job. If you’re looking for some movies about work and office life to add to your collection, here are some of my favorites.
1. The Company Men (2010)
Three high-ranking executives are about to lose their jobs in this film. Ben Affleck plays a man who is unable to let go of his comfortable way of life. Chris Cooper portrays a man who is unable to face the fact that he has lost his career and the challenges that lie ahead. While Tommy Lee Jones portrays a man who is trying to find a way to reconcile his two seperate selves and get back to the person he was before he started the project. Even if you’re not interested in the high-powered life, I believe we can all empathize with what it’s like to be laid off. It can feel like you’ve lost your identity to some people. In the eyes of others, you’re still unable to get your life back on track.
It was refreshing to see a film depict unemployment and the humiliation of trying to sell yourself to a potential employer in an honest way.
2. Clockwatchers (1997)
The first time I saw this film was a long time ago, before I had even started working. For Toni Collette, this is a stepping stone role. In the role of a credit firm temp, she portrays the character. In the beginning, Toni Collette’s character is shy, insecure, and attempting to avoid being noticed. Three other temps, an office robber, and a new permanent employee all begin to disrupt her life in unexpected ways.
As someone who hasn’t worked as a temp before, I can empathize with what it’s like to have coworkers. I also found their individual attempts to find their place in an office to be very interesting…. That’s one of the reasons I enjoyed this film so much.
Consider Parker Posey’s caustic wit an asset.
Most difficult part of the job is pretending to be busy when you’re really not.
3. Margin Call (2011)
It’s been five years since the financial crisis of 2008. You were right. So, I saw this movie a few months after I was laid off in 2018 and found it to be rather enjoyable. Most of the story revolves around one early-period, pre-crash investment bank in 2008. Their first insights into what would happen to us all at that time are seen in this video. It’s exhilarating, to say the least (and sometimes confusing).
This film gave me a new perspective on how many of us identify with the character we play at work. It felt eerily similar to the scene in the beginning of the film where the characters had been released and are all they have left is a box full of belongings.
Keep an eye out for: The boardroom moment when the imminent financial loss is exposed to the company’s executives.
4. Office Space (1999)
There is no way I can avoid mentioning Office Space in a blog post about movies about work. After it initially came out, I didn’t enjoy it, but when I started working after college, I became a huge fan. Peter Gibbons, who dislikes his office job, is our narrator. In the moment, his entire outlook on life shifts, and he adopts an altogether new approach to work. The layoffs at work and a new relationship with a waitress who works nearby come as a result of this new perspective.
This film’s depiction of the dreary and tedious aspects of office life was a delight to me. This film nicely captures the annoyances of working with annoying coworkers and the fear of being laid off.
Director Mike Judge will appear in the restaurant as Jennifer Aniston’s boss.
To paraphrase, I did nothing and it turned out to be all I hoped it would be.
5. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
Actor Will Smith portrays Chris Gardner, a real-life hero whose tale is included in this film. His apartment gets evicted when he is raising his son alone and trying to make ends meet.. While working as a salesman for a bone density scanner machine, he takes on an unpaid internship. Instead of getting distracted by other things, he keeps his sights set on the future, especially the future of him and his son.
In this film, Will Smith portrays a loving father to his real-life son. One of the reasons I usually keep an eye out for internships while I’m looking for a job is because of this.
Watch out for the heartwarming conclusion (that brings tears to my eyes every time).
This chapter of my life has been my favorite. What about this particular section? This is what we mean when we talk about “happiness.”
6. Working Girl (1988)
In particular, I adore the Carly Simon song “Let the River Run,” which is featured in the film. Tess McGill, played by Melanie Griffith, is a lady striving to get into the business world. In the end, she discovers that her new female boss had tried to pass off her ideas as her own when she presented them to her. Taking on the role of her boss and teaming up with a coworker she met at a party, Tess transforms the situation to achieve the deal she deserves.
In this film, Tess’ tenacity to make her voice heard is what I find most endearing. After watching this film, I was left feeling motivated.
Joan Cusack will play her supporting best friend, so keep an eye out for her.
Is there anything I can do for you? Coffee? Tea? Me?
7. Mr. Mom (1983)
During the time when his wife is back to work, Michael Keaton plays the part of Jack, who loses his job and becomes the family’s “Mom.” Jack’s life is flipped upside down when he takes on the tasks that his wife used to handle, such as caring for the family’s children, grocery shopping, and laundry, which he had never done before.
The movie’s central theme isn’t about job, but rather about family. However, I also admire Teri Garr (Michael Keaton’s wife) for pursuing her own career in a male-dominated workplace.
There is a sweet moment of letting go of the baby’s “woobie” that you should keep an eye out for.
Don’t forget what’s vital, because it’s easy to do.
8. Up in the Air (2009)
When Michael Keaton is the narrator, I’m in. Michael Keaton plays a man who makes a life by exploiting others. Upon meeting a young woman (Anna Kendrick) who is willing to try something different and finds a new love of her life, he understands that life isn’t as simple as he thought it was.
What I enjoy most about this film is observing the gradual transformation of a man who appears to have no desire to interact with others. This one has a smattering of romance, which I appreciate. Even though it’s about the possibility of losing your job, it’s really about making a connection with and showing concern for someone else.
Those who haven’t had a chance to interact with George Clooney or Anna Kendrick should be on your radar. People who had been fired from their jobs came in to say the things they wished they could tell their ex-boss, and those are their true words.
At what point were you going to take a break and return to the things that made you happy?
9. Norma Rae (1979)
This isn’t your typical movie about working life. This is the story of a textile worker’s single mother who gets active in organizing a union at her workplace. As a result, she will face a slew of difficulties and perils as she takes on the poor working circumstances. She is always being pushed and pulled in different directions by a variety of people, including her family and boyfriend. She finds it difficult to remain steadfast in her convictions.
My favorite thing about this film, in my opinion, is that it’s all about uprisings and battling injustice. This movie is one of my faves since my mother has always reminded me of Norma Rae.
When Sally Field (as Norma Rae) holds up a union sign and everyone in the mill stops their machinery in support, that’s the moment to watch for.
“I’m stayin’ right where I am,” is my favorite line. You, the police, the fire department, and the National Guard are going to have to work together to get me out of here!
10. Erin Brockovich (2000)
Julia Roberts is a single mother who becomes a legal assistant and takes on the California power company in a battle to prove their complicity in polluting the source of water. As much as this is a film about standing up to corrupt officials, it’s also a story about one woman’s commitment to a greater cause. It’s based on a genuine story, which makes it all the more fascinating.
As previously stated, I enjoy films that take on corruption. For Julia Roberts’ superb delivery and her ability to establish a rapport with the residents of this little town, this one stands out. Go out of your comfort zone after seeing this film.