"Power Plays and How To Abuse Them"
What You Need To Know:
THE BUSINESS OF STRANGERS shows that the view from the top may not be as beneficial as the ability to view the heart. It explores the intoxication, dangers and abuses of power. It also confronts the self-destructive obsession with “corporate ladders” while raising issues of feminism, homosexuality and victimization in an alarming, in-your-face fashion. Further, it shows the excesses of human nature when mixed with boredom and a lack of accountability. THE BUSINESS OF STRANGERS is a clever and dark thriller with many powerful messages. It is sure to be a favorite among Oscar discussions, but it has too many excesses to be worthwhile. Mind your own business instead.
(HH, FeFe, HoHo, Ab, Acap, LLL, VV, SS, NN, AA, DD, MM) Humanist worldview with strong feminist, homosexual & nihilistic elements, plus anti-biblical & anti-capitalistic content; at least 60 obscenities, with 34 “f” words, & 5 profanities; violent content includes woman cuts finger to smear blood on man’s chest, drugging, tying & gagging a man, slapping & hitting him while he’s unconscious, smothering him, & using a felt-marker to write curses & accusations all over his body; implied scene of woman fondling unconscious man, sensuous dancing, scenes of couple kissing in a small closet, brief clip of a sex scene shown on a hotel adult movie channel with nudity & lots of heavy breathing, & many jokes about lesbianism & sex toys; women undress to their underwear & brief clip of nude scene on adult movie channel in hotel; much drinking; woman steals & abuses prescription drugs; and, hotel room Bible is used to further abuse victim & lack of accountability, revenge & abuse of power rebuked.
An angry, high-powered corporate executive learns a great deal about herself and THE BUSINESS OF STRANGERS during a brief business trip. Stockard Channing (the First Lady from the television series THE WEST WING) plays Julie Styron, a businesswoman accustomed to surviving the jungle warfare tactics of the corporate world. Julie, while bracing to be fired at a hastily-called meeting, receives empowering news that she is the company’s new CEO. Feeling newfound invincibility, she opts to celebrate her good fortune with co-worker Paula (Julia Stiles) and a business associate (Frederick Weller), also stuck in the same dull airport hotel.
THE BUSINESS OF STRANGERS really shows us that the view from the top may not be as beneficial as the ability to view the heart. Further, there is recognition of the sacrifices that successful people often have to make and a realization that “it’s lonely at the top.” Many long shots of empty hotel hallways and dreary but authentic hotel mood music serve as reminders that the lonely life is an empty life. Julie, however, opts to wield her new power to right the wrongs in her life, to fill the void of missed relationships and fun. She extends her helping hand to Paula, a youthful, impetuous assistant who clearly “has issues” that Julie is about to discover. Paula slyly pulls Julie into her web, offering to cast off her controlled and collected business demeanor for a few hours of fun and pranks.
Enter Nick (played by Frederick Weller). Flight-delayed and ready for some fun company, he becomes the victim of Paula’s retaliation and Julie’s repressed anger. Convinced that Nick is an evil victimizer, the women attack him on behalf of female employees everywhere who have suffered under abusive power.
THE BUSINESS OF STRANGERS explores the intoxication, dangers and abuses of power. The unfolding story exposes the trappings of anger repression and seriously questions the wisdom of vengeance. It also confronts the self-destructive obsession with “corporate ladders” while raising issues of feminism, homosexuality and victimization in an alarming, disturbing and in-your-face fashion. Further, it shows the excesses of human nature when mixed with boredom and a lack of accountability.
THE BUSINESS OF STRANGERS shrewdly conveys that the corporate viewpoint may be authoritative within its own bubble, but it isn’t necessarily connected to, or even valid in, real life. This is a clever and dark thriller with many layers of powerful messages. It is sure to be a favorite among Oscar discussions, but it has too many excesses to be worthwhile. Stay home and stay out of their business instead.
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