What is the value of a human life? Almost everyone would most likely agree that it's absurd to place a dollar amount on the worth of a person's life, but that's exactly what D.C. attorney Ken Feinberg (Michael Keaton) was tasked with.
In the days and months following the horrendous terrorist attacks on 9/11, Feinberg stepped in trying to do the right thing: He was heading up the daunting job of coming up with financial compensation for the victims of 9/11 and their families. But how does one go about valuing the compensation one should receive for the loss of a parent, sibling or child? Again I ask: What is the value of a human life?
This based-on-a-true story about Ken Feinberg is anchored by a great performance by Michael Keaton. He means well, but his scientific approach to an emotional issue was met with tremendous pushback on all sides. On one hand, the government was somewhat nudging him to come up with a solution that wouldn't bankrupt the entire economy, and on the other hand, the victims rightly wanted their lost loved ones to matter more than any paycheck could symbolize. It was a tough position to be in for sure, and Feinberg couldn't possibly relate, even with the help of his loyal assistant Camille (Amy Ryan). Keaton beautifully walks the line as a pragmatist who almost is an alien when it comes to human emotion, who desperately wants to help but simply doesn't know exactly how to.
The movie serves up this story in a fairly predictable, methodical way, and some of the dialogue feels flat and preachy. To make the audience understand the dilemma at hand, Feinberg meets Charles Wolf (Stanley Tucci) a man who lost his wife on 9/11 who becomes a popular organizer around the idea of "fixing the fund." We're also given cases like a gay man who lost his partner in the attack, but who won't be compensated due to the way the laws worked at the time...instead the compensation will go to the dead man's parents, who were not in the picture at all and who detested their son's lifestyle.
If anything, "Worth" examines how nothing is perfect, and how sometimes a flawed solution is better than no solution at all. The film itself is definitely flawed, but through the performances and the topics at hand, it definitely makes watching it worthwhile.
Genre: Biography, Drama, History.
Run Time: 1 hour 58 minutes.
Starring: Michael Keaton, Stanley Tucci, Amy Ryan.
Directed by Sara Colangelo ("The Kindergarten Teacher," "Little Accidents").
"Worth" is on Netflix on Friday, September 3rd, 2021.
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