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Working Girl

1988

R CC

Street-smart Staten Island secretary Tess McGill is determined to use her brains and talent to pull herself out of the secretarial pool and into the upper echelons of New York's brokerage industry.

Starring:
Harrison Ford, Sigourney Weaver
Runtime:
1 hour, 53 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Romance, Comedy
Director Mike Nichols
Starring Harrison Ford, Sigourney Weaver
Supporting actors Melanie Griffith, Alec Baldwin, Joan Cusack, Philip Bosco, Nora Dunn, Oliver Platt, James Lally, Kevin Spacey, Robert Easton, Olympia Dukakis, Amy Aquino, Jeffrey Nordling, Elizabeth Whitcraft, Maggie Wagner, Lou DiMaggio, David Duchovny, Georgienne Millen, Caroline Aaron
Studio 20th Century Fox
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Linda McDonnell on June 9, 2003
Format: DVD
When I first saw this movie, I was about 25 years old, and when I heard that the two women characters were both 30, I thought to myself, "How old!" Ahem. Now being a few years past 30 myself, I'm thinking, "wow, Sigourney Weaver had gotten so far so young!" Shows you what 15 years'll do for ya.
Just saw it for only the second time the other night at the New-York Historical Society, tie in to their "Women in Business" exhibit with a gaggle of girlfriends. I was a little antsy, because I was afraid maybe it wasn't going to be as good as I recalled. But thanks be, it was! And the girlfriends all loved it, too, except that Lorraine wondered why it was her coworker's favorite movie. I can't answer that, but it's a great ride notwithstanding.
Melanie Griffith turns in her best performance as our Working Girl, an extremely competent would-be businesswoman. Trouble is, with her big hair, jingle jangle bangles, and questionable wardrobe, she's having a hard time being taken seriously. Finally, she gets assigned as secretary to a female boss, Sigourney Weaver, who epitomizes class and breezy elegance. Melanie thinks she's found her mentor at long last, only to discover, while running errands for the hospitalized Weaver, that the lady boss has stolen her Big Idea. Then she finds her boyfriend in bed with another woman. All this pushes her over into making a wild reach for the brass ring by stealing the clothes and business contacts of the absent Weaver and hacking off that head of hair to steal back her own idea and make it work. Along the way, she attracts the attentions of banker Harrison Ford and together they scramble to pull off the deal, Ford not in on her true identity as a mere secretary.
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Format: DVD
It's been 15 years since I first saw this movie. All these years I still remember the opening scene where Tess (Melanie Griffth), in her secretary outfit but wearing sports shoes, was on the ferry heading for the concrete jungle in Manhattan, accompanied by the unforgettable chorus of the theme song. It was early in the morning and Tess was just one of the many working at the low echelon for the big corporations.

Having seen the movie again on DVD recently, I find the plot itself original and not a bit out of date. The clothes and hairstyles of the actresses are conspicuously different (afterall, it's the 80's). Apart from that, the movie itself enticed the audience with its dramatic breadth and emotional depth.

As the story unfolded, Tess, a secretary who went to night schools and read magazines to upgrade herself, thought she striked gold when she explained her idea to her "understanding" boss Katharine (Sigourney Weaver), only to find later that Katharine stole her idea and pretended it was her own. Out of sheer determination and intelligence, Tess reversed her fortune by imposturing as a senior executive, teamed up with Jack (Harrison Ford) and was so close to completing an ingenious business deal - until Katharine came back from her leg injury and took control of the boardroom...

Despite the apparent Cinderella happy ending, the fluid story-telling lured the audience to find out what Tess exactly did to triumph in the end. By asking a critical question in the right place at the right moment, Tess turned her fortune again. The last 10 minutes of the movie was intriguing. Success, when it did come eventually, was far beyond Tess's expectations. And it was not only Tess, but secretaries just like her, who cheered for her.
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
I missed this film in theatrical release, but manage to watch it whenever I can on television. I recently purchased the DVD only to discover that there were several generally amusing scenes in the trailer that never made it into the movie - a bit of a mystery.
The screenplay for this movie starts with a somewhat shaky premise that the means justify the end - that if you can't get an honest break but happen to work for an unethical boss who steals your ideas and gives you no credit, you can be as manipulative as you wish to get a chance to show how smart you are. This is hardly a palatable business lesson, ladies and gentlemen, and I have to fight down my qualms about this with every viewing.
That said, and with that reservation, as a movie, it has a lot going for it: seamless direction by Mike Nichols; flawless ensemble acting from Melanie Griffiths, Sigourney Weaver, Harrison Ford (sigh!), Joan Cusack (with the most outrageous eye makeup in history)and people like Oliver Platt, Kevin Spacy and David Duchovny in tiny parts; great love scenes - humorous, tender and not too graphic; an optimistic ending; and one of the best songs ever written by Carly Simon.
But, oh my, the beginning of this movie caught me totally off guard! In a literally breath-taking helicopter pan around Lady Liberty and New York Harbor, the shot of lower Manhattan of course comes to rest on the World Trade Center towers, soaring and golden in the morning sunlight before the camera pans down to pick up the characters commuting to New York on the Staten Island Ferry. Beautiful, timeless, tragic.
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