“Everyone was very nervous about the movie, because it had three female leads” – Lily Tomlin
In the 1970’s, 1/3 of working women were secretaries. The pay was terrible, the bosses could routinely harass and talk down to their employees and there was very little if nothing a woman could do to move up. Eventually, Karen Nussbaum & Ellen Cassedy got tired of being seen as a second class citizen and started the 9 to 5 Organization in Boston. She got women across the country to start fighting for better work conditions. Two time Oscar winner Jane Fonda and her business partner, producer Bruce Gilbert, set out to take this story and mold a narrative film around it that hopefully will be seen by the masses and get this movement going.
With the cast ready to go (before the script had even been written) the filmmakers set out to tell the truth about what it was like for the modern woman working in a corporate world. Times were changing and this movie coming along when it did was able to show the world how unjustly and unfairly women in the work place were treated. Women didn’t leave their families to go play wife for a boss. Some were forced out due to their husbands not making enough or they were the sole breadwinner in the household. Jane, Lily and Dolly didn’t set out to win people’s heart and minds, but to start the dialogue needed to change things in this country. And what better way than to use comedy to get people to listen.
Directors Camille Hardman and Gary Lane dig deep into the archives of news footage, promotional materials and interviews with surviving cast members of the movie. They look into the television series and the broadway adaptation and discuss what this movie meant to them, and how 40 years later 9 to 5’s story is still just as relevant today as when it was released. With today’s workforce facing outrageous inflation, a government that does’t value the lives or opinions of the working woman and a feeling of dread that it will get way worse before it gets any better, this documentary reminds us that if you stand up for what you believe in and fight tooth and nail for what’s just and right, you’re going to make an impact and change can happen.
Still Working 9 to 5 is now showing at Doc Edge Festival 2022. Tickets and more information are available HERE
Reviewed online (screener provided by publicist), June 30, 2022. Running time: 96 min.
PRODUCTION: A Mighty Fine Entertainment production, in association with Artemis Rising Foundation. Producers: Camille Hardman & Gary Lane. Executive producers: Geralyn Dreyfous, Larry Lane, Shane McAnally, Regina K. Scully & Steve Summers.
CREW: Directors: Camilly Hardman & Gary Lane. Editing: Elisa Bonora & Oreet Rees. Cinematography: Brian Tweedt. Music: Jessica Weiss.
CAST: Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton, Allison Janney, Rita Moreno, Dabney Coleman, Megan Hilty, Bonnie Langford, Joe Mantello & Marc Kudisch.