Working Girl epitomizes the high powered businesswoman of the 1980’s. From big hair to shoulder pads. Working Girl earned high praise thanks to Oscar nominated director Mike Nichols and a dedicated A-list cast. Best Picture and Best Director went to fellow comedic drama Rain Man, but my mom recommended Working Girl just as much. Partly because it was a much better Best Actress nominated role for Melanie Griffith. Most of her previous work gave me the impression that she was just another sex symbol, but Tess McGill is so much more than that. She’s a New York secretary who just wants to be taken seriously in the workplace. Griffith has plenty of sexy scenes, but Tess has the brains to match. Though she was battling cocaine addiction at the time, Griffith gives the performance of her career.
The rest of the cast was either really big in the 80’s or just starting out. The former includes Philip Bosco as a business owner and Olympia Dukakis as a personal director. The latter includes Alec Baldwin as Tess’ sleazy boyfriend, Oliver Platt as her sleazy former boss, and Kevin Spacey as a sleazy potential boss. Ripley herself Sigourney Weaver is the perfect condescending female boss. Katherine Parker pretends to bond with Tess, but she outright steals her ideas before a freak skiing accident. Tess is only able to prove herself while pretending to be her boss. Joan Cusack plays the eccentric best friend who gives her a professional makeover.
Both Weaver and Cusack were also nominated for Best Supporting Actress, but the men are just as notable. Indiana Jones himself Harrison Ford is the perfect kind hearted businessman. Jack Trainer was originally part of Tess’ business plan, but they wind up falling in love. Which complicates things when certain truths are revealed. I don’t fully understand Mergers & Acquisitions or most of the business talk, but it was great to see Tess tell Katherine off and get the respect she deserved. The only Oscar Working Girl won was a much deserved win for Best Original Song. “Let the River Run” by Carly Simon is a spirited tune that makes Working Girl worth celebrating.