The Perfect Boss |

content / criticism

July White (Javier Bardem) has a dream: He wants to finally receive the government’s award for excellent corporate management. He deserves it, at least he is convinced of that. After all, he runs his family business for industrial scales in an exemplary manner, for him the workforce is one big family with him as his father. Unfortunately, some in the family are causing a lot of trouble right now. For example, José (Oscar de la Fuente) simply didn’t accept that he was fired and has been demonstrating in front of the factory entrance ever since. His production boss Miralles (Manolo Solo) is loyal but not overly productive as he is only preoccupied with his failed marriage. And then there is the beautiful Liliana (Almudena Love), which the married company boss immediately fell in love with – but he has no idea what he will do to himself with it …

Perfect without being good

Javier Bardem is without a doubt one of the most celebrated acting talents to emerge from Spain in the last two decades. Again and again he plays in major international productions, most recently in the science fiction adventure Dune or even in the biopic Being the Ricardos, which earned him his third Oscar nomination for Best Actor. In fact, he’s now so established in Hollywood that it’s quite the opposite when he doesn’t shoot there but in his home country. The perfect boss is one of the now rare examples where he actually shoots in Spanish. That this is the new work of Fernando Leon de Aranoa acts, with whom he has previously worked, may have played a greater role in the return. So they shot together the 2017 released Loving Pabloin which Bardem slipped into the role of notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar.

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This time he doesn’t play a criminal, but one of the good guys. Or better: he plays someone who thinks he’s good. The fact that his altruism is not that far off is evident in The perfect boss evident in many places. For example, if he forces a 70-year-old employee to do repairs on a Sunday, while Julio next to him is relaxing and having a party, it becomes clear without words that there is a major discrepancy between his standards and his behavior. How ruthless he can be is also shown by the storyline about the dismissed family man, who rises up against the entrepreneur. Because there is no pardon or compassion. At most, there is fear for one’s own image, especially if it could cost him the price.

Social criticism meets entertainment

But that’s just one of several stories that Fernando León de Aranoa links together. The individual strands are not directly related to each other. Only Julio serves as a link as the film picks out a week in the entrepreneur’s life. The perfect boss describes how these individual problem cases develop a momentum of their own and how the father increasingly loses control over everything. At this point, the audience can ask themselves whether they will still be able to win them back in time, or whether everything will eventually collapse under the weight of the moment. And of course it is implicitly called to take a stand. Do we wish success to the man who is equal parts charming and ruthless? Who exploits other people and still wants to sell himself as a benefactor?

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The film combines clear social criticism, for example related to capitalism, with pure entertainment. Creates absurd scenes and intersperses them with only too real moments of male assault. Overall, this is a little long and shies away from too strong peaks. Obviously, like his protagonist, León de Aranoa was all about balance. But it is also fun. The artfully composed settings and the playful ensemble make up for the sometimes meandering story and make the film one that pleases both the masses and critics: With 20 nominations from the Goyas, the satire set a new record for Spain’s most important film award .


OT: „The good boss“
Land: Spain
Year: 2021
Director: Fernando Leon de Aranoa
Script: Fernando Leon de Aranoa
Music: Zeltia Montes
Camera: Pau Esteve Birba
Occupation: Javier Bardem, Manolo Solo, Almudena Amor, Oscar de la Fuente, Sonia Almarcha, Fernando Albizu

Film festival

San Sebastián International Film Festival 2021
Munich Film Festival 2022

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