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The Business of Strangers [DVD] [2002]

4.1 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Stockard Channing, Julia Stiles, Frederick Weller, Mary Testa, Jack Hallett
  • Directors: Patrick Stettner
  • Writers: Patrick Stettner
  • Producers: David Siegel, Derrick Tseng, Ramsey Fong, Robert H. Nathan, Scott McGehee
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Momentum Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: 19 May 2003
  • Run Time: 84 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000094PW4
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 74,963 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Corporate climber Julie Styron (Stockard Channing) has little in her life besides work, very few friends and is so convinced that she is about to be side-lined at work that she visits a head-hunter, Nick Harris. Meanwhile, she has just sacked her personal assistant Paula (Julia Stiles) for failing to turn up to a major presentation on time. However, when Nick offers Julie his job, she backtracks and tries to woo Paula back. But Paula knows a nasty secret about Nick and is intent on revenge.

From the Back Cover

High-flying corporate climber Julie Styron (Stockard Channing) has to perform well at her next presentation to clinch the deal of a lifetime. When her new assistant, Paula (Julia Stiles) arrives late with her presentation materials, Julie promptly fires her. However, when the two meet by chance later in a hotel bar, Julie attempts a reconciliation, but Paula swiftly turns the tables on her. As the night progresses, things take a dark turn as a complex battle of power, authority and wits emerges.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By schumann_bg TOP 50 REVIEWER on 4 April 2016
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is an outstanding film about power and hidden resentments and regrets, played out in an airport hotel between a young woman (Julia Stiles) who has a menial job in a software company, and a woman who has reached the upper echelons, from a much less privileged start (Stockard Channing). The contact between the women is quite compelling, and it is one of Channing's finest roles - she simply fills the screen with the nuances the script contains, building a performance of remarkable truth and pathos. You can read every emotion in her face, there is never a single moment where she is not completely expressive, somehow, or less than fully alive to the meanings the film gives off like a rare scent. Into this potent setup steps a young headhunter, initially to find a job for Channing's character, but later he misses his flight and encounters them again with far-reaching and explosive consequences. It would be a shame to give too much away, but Frederick Weller is also just right for this role, having a certain naivety about his persona that is ideally suited. The soundtrack consists of gamelan music and other similar sounds that give the effect of something Balinese, its restfulness both out of place in the setting and oddly contrasting with the tone of the action. It works brilliantly. Julia Stiles is also excellent; her character has quite a lot of resonance given the kind of stories one reads in the media with increasing frequency. It makes the film a kind of parable for modern times - although the moral of the story remains hard to put your finger on ....
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Format: DVD
"The Business of Strangers" is a film that is either going to hook up, in which case you will find it compelling, or it is going to leave you cold and disinterested. It is essentially a two-character drama, in which Stockard Channing plays Julie Styron, a business executive for a software company who spends most of her time on the road going her job, and Julia Stiles plays Paula Murphy, an audio-visual techie who shows up 45 minutes late for an important presentation. Julie thinks she is about to be fired when her boss flies in for a dinner meeting and Paula knows she is fired when she hears Julie do exactly that on her cell phone. But it turns out that Julie is being promoted to the top spot in the corporation and she feels magnanimous at this good fortune to spare Paula, put her up in a hotel room at company expense, and spend the night drinking with this strange young woman.
Your tendency is to think the Julie and Paula are women at the opposite ends of the same road, but that is only partially true at best. For Julie the job has become everything: she is an "uberfrau," to quote Paula, who is divorced, childless, and drinks scotch just like a man. In contrast, Paula dismisses her work as "only a money job," declaring she is really a writer, collecting observations of the human condition as she makes a buck. Despite some rough spots, the two get along together pretty well, playing a quick mind game in the elevator with some businessmen, playing around in the pool during a swim, and chatting in the sauna. But then Nick Harris (Frederick Weller) shows up. He is an executive headhunter than Julie called in when she thought she was going to need a job. He ends up stuck overnight when all the flights get cancelled and he joins the two women.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Very involved film, lots to think about, a bit slow to begin with but you really get into it after about 20 mins, worth a watch when there is nothing on tv.
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Format: DVD
i popped this film into my dvd player not expecting too much, just a nice way to pass the time, but i was blown away. I loved this film. I loved the storyline, the twists, and the acting was amazing!!! So intense!! I urge you to watch this, and at not even an hour an a half it wont take up too much time!!
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Format: VHS Tape
Near the beginning of this imaginative film when Paula Murphy (20-year-old Julia Stiles) and Julie Styron (Stockard Channing) meet in earnest, Paula tells Julie what she really does in life: "I'm a writer," she says. I write short stories about things that I experience. Nonfiction. "Fiction is too stupid, too neat. I like the sloppiness of real life." What we don't know at the time is that Paula is about to improvise just such a tale involving Julie, a tale that challenges the middle-aged executive's lifestyle and her assumptions about herself and inspires her to do things she wouldn't normally do.
This is the "business of strangers." And this is the story within the story. Paula is the diabolical kind of person who is dedicated to introducing people to themselves so that she can watch them twist, a privileged, under-achieving Ivy League girl with machinations. Julie is a community college workaholic who never had time for a family, or love, or self-discovery, a lonely woman whose life is a parade of sterile hotel rooms, anonymous strangers, alcohol and pills. Although the story drags in a little in spots, the overall effect is edgy and fascinating, and the contrast between the principals keeps us wondering who is going to come out on top.
The action really begins when Julie, in an expansive mood with some booze and her promotion to CEO, shows some interest in the girl she just fired for being late to a presentation. It's not clear what sort of interest that is. Julie responds as a spider coaxing a fly into the web, but it's not clear what she's up to. They go to the pool and play around, get on the treadmills at the gym and run. They go back to Julie's suite and drink some more.
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