Employee of the Month (L'employée du mois)
Genre: Comedy, Crime
Year Released: 2023
Runtime: 1h 18m
Director(s): Véronique Jadin
Writer(s): Véronique Jadin, Nina Vanspranghe
Cast: Jasmina Douieb, Laetitia Mampaka, Pete Van den Begin, Alex Vizorek, Laurence Bibot
Language: French with English subtitles
Where To Watch: premieres via VOD & DVD on May 12, 2023
RAVING REVIEW: If you're seeking a thought-provoking film that will hit the funny bone, then EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH is a perfect choice. Directed by Véronique Jadin, this film sweeps you into the zany universe of office politics, cleverly unraveling gender dynamics in a corporate world. With clear inspiration from THE OFFICE, OFFICE SPACE, and a bit of THE BELKO EXPERIMENT, this film flips the office comedy on its head.
The story is set in the eco-friendly company EcoClean and is a fantastic parody/satire; the company touts green practices, yet they are ironically steeped in murky dealings. The narrative revolves around Inès, brilliantly played by Jasmina Douieb, and Mélody, portrayed by the talented Laetitia Mampaka. Their characters navigate a maze of corporate absurdity while contending with challenges that resonate with women everywhere.
From a visual standpoint, the film feels like an office-style sitcom. It has a very claustrophobic feeling, even when the story branches out. The stress of the office environment is everpresent throughout. Inès and Mélody, two women in a sea of male colleagues, are the film's beating heart. The depth of their characters and the evolution of their relationship from colleagues to accomplices adds a unique twist to the film's narrative, which then dominoes into craziness.
An interesting subject in the film that I wasn’t expecting was the nuanced portrayal of normalized sexual harassment in the workplace, an issue often swept under the carpet in comedies. Balancing between comic relief and poignant social commentary, the film underscores the need for open dialogue about such realities.
The sharp satire of EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH is an excellent twist for the viewer. It offers an intriguing look at office life while expertly weaving in elements of social critique—the narrative bounces around a bit throughout the film being driven by unforeseen events.
The score was shockingly powerful, I wasn’t paying much attention to it, and then it grabbed me and forced me to pay attention. I don’t think there’s any better signature of a score than when it can make you realize it's there and how powerful it is.
EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH is not just a comedy; it's a commentary on society as a whole, which works for the film but also splits itself down the center, so it cannot focus entirely on one or the other.
To sum up, EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH is more of an experience than just a film which caught me off guard for a comedy. With a unique blend of humor, social critique, and some solid performances, it is almost a rollercoaster of laughter, surprise, and introspection. If you're in the mood for a film that challenges what you think a comedy should be, then EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH may be the film for you.
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[photo courtesy of FILM MOVEMENT]