Director: Laurent Cantet
Year Released: 1999
Human Resources works because it's so simple and universal - it documents a naive young man's first few days in management, and how he must try to balance (and act as a go-between for) his loyalty to the upper management and his sympathy for the lowly workers (of which his father is one of them, manning a machine that does one tedious, simple task). Its plot is so predictable, I knew where it was going by the ten minute mark, but that doesn't detract from its appeal one iota simply because Cantet is so honest and straightforward with the story. The actors don't even seem like they're acting and the sadness that is within them (and the heart of the film) is quite palpable. My admiration for it is perhaps narcissistic - it reminds me of my time working for an insurance company - and I may be overlooking some glaring flaws (the aforementioned predictability, the one-sided pro-union stance), but when something feels this real, and seems to accurately represent the lives of millions, I willingly cave in.