I Heart Working Girl

If you haven’t seen Mike Nichol’s Working Girl (1988) then you are missing out on a glorious look back at style in the mid-1980’s.

I heart this movie because it takes me back to the time when I first started watching the Academy Awards. Working Girl was nominated for numerous awards, most notable was Melanie Griffith for Actress in a Leading Role. She lost to Jodie Foster (in The Accused) but it did win Best Original Song by Carly Simon (for Let the River Run). The Academy Awards were fun back then, they took themselves a lot less seriously. The gowns were a lot less serious too and the awards also featured proper singing and dancing as part of the entertainment! Ah those were the days.

But I digress. Working Girl is the story of Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith in her best role ever) a working class secretary trying to make it in the world of mergers and acquisitions. When her boss (played by the always brilliant Sigourney Weaver) breaks her leg while skiing, Tess has to help her out and take over for her. In turn Tess finds out that Katherine is not the mentor she thought she was and decides to take matters into her own hands. By taking on Katherine’s role as her own in the company she meets Jack Trainer (Harrison Ford) and while working on a deal together, they also fall in love. Ah l’amour. Jack has no idea that Tess is actually Katherine’s secretary and when the cat is let out of the bag, he is left wondering if he was just part of her master plan too.

This film is one of those classics that gets better with age. There are some wonderful actors in Working Girl. Joan Cusack plays Cyn, Tess’s loyal and protective best friend. Alec Baldwin plays Tess’s Staten Island boyfriend Mick. If you look carefully you’ll also see Kevin Spacey, Oliver Platt, Olympia Dukakis and even a very young David Duchovney. It’s worth watching for the hair styles and makeup alone! Tess and Cyn’s Staten Island secretary look is both scary and hilarious.

I think the reason why I heart this movie so much is really because of a combination of things. It’s the excellent writing by Kevin Wade, it’s Tess’s ultimately successful struggle out of the typing pool, it’s the romance between Tess and Jack and it’s the perfect timing with which Sigourney delivers her lines as Katherine. It is so good, I cannot believe she didn’t get a nomination from the Academy for it!

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One thought on “I Heart Working Girl

  1. I love this movie too! It has been a while though – will put it on my weekly dvd list! Melanie was something then eh?

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