Review by Camden Ferrell
The Good Boss premiered at festivals in 2021 and was the official selection of Spain for Best International Feature at the 2022 Academy Awards. This movie is directed by Fernando León de Aranoa, a veteran filmmaker who is no stranger to big actors and big stories. This film can both revel and suffer in its small-scale story, but it serves as a decent showcase for the always talented Javier Bardem.
Blanco is a successful man who is the boss of a factory that produces scales. The movie follows each day in a week for him as he awaits the inspection of a local committee for an award. With a possible award on the line, he does what he can to deal with professional and personal turmoil to ensure his goals are met. This is a nice and simple story that isn’t ambitious in its narrative and has the potential for great character exploration.
The writing is decent yet forgettable throughout. It does enough to maintain one’s attention through its story, but it also doesn’t really have anything original to bring to the table. The dialogue isn’t compelling but is still far from weak. It does what it needs to do without attempting to elevate the film as a whole.
By far and away, the best part of this movie is its leading performance. Javier Bardem is one of the best actors working today, and he leads this film wonderfully from start to finish. He brings a lot of emotion and complexity to a seemingly simple character, and if this movie stands the test of time, it will be due entirely to his turn as Blanco.
While Bardem is the standout, there are other aspects of the movie that shine. The direction and pacing are consistent and fairly strong throughout. It’s nearly two hours, but it never feels dull or slow, and this is commendable due to how simple its story and script are.
The Good Boss is a nice story that is propelled by Bardem’s fantastic leading performance. This, along with some confident direction, help elevate an average script. Not particularly ambitious, this is a movie that might speak to a wide range of audiences with its character moments and relevant themes and drama.
The Good Boss is in theaters August 26.