With one of the longest careers in Hollywood, spanning over 3 decades and still going strong today, Sigourney Weaver has starred in many a blockbuster movie. Gaining attention and praise from fans and critics alike, it seems the actress has left no genre untouched. From Ghostbusters to The Village to her crushing performances in the Alien franchise, Weaver has wowed fans of all ages, gathering a massive cult following. But many born after a certain time may not know the performer for one of her most iconic roles of all time, 1988’s Working Girl.
In the rom-com drama, Sigourney Weaver stars opposite Star Wars actor, Harrison Ford, and Lolita star, Melanie Griffith with an ensemble cast made up of Joan Cusack, Alec Baldwin, Kevin Spacey, Philip Bosco, Zach Grenier, Nora Dunn, Oliver Platt, James Lally, Robert Easton, Amy Aquino, and Olympia Dukakis. The story follows Tess (Griffith), an up and coming business woman from Staten Island, who has just landed a new job as an administrative assistant, working under Katharine (Weaver). Although her new boss seems to be a trustworthy advocate for Tess who is beginning her climb up the business ladder, she proves to be anything but. When Tess pitches an idea for a new merger, Katharine shoots it down, only to secretly take it on as her own. Tess discovers the betrayal after Katharine is hurt in a skiing accident leading her to ask Tess to house-sit for her. Uncovering a set of meeting notes, Tess finds out that Katharine is planning to move forward with her original merger idea.
To get ahead of the calculated move, Tess strikes up a conversation with a higher up in the company, Jack Trainer (Ford) and hopes to land a meeting with her prospective new clients. Luckily for Tess, everything works out and the company decides to move ahead with her idea. While preparing for the merger, Jack and Tess begin a romantic relationship which is made messy when it’s revealed that Jack and Katharine are already involved. Although Jack claims he was planning to dump Katharine before her skiing accident, things are already a mess. When Katharine comes back into the picture, she finds that not only has Tess quickly risen through the ranks, but that Jack is also breaking up with her. Things get even more muddled when Katharine discovers Tess’s plans for the merger, leading Katharine to burst into the meeting and reveal Tess’s true role as a secretary. Things don’t end well for Katharine who ends up on the losing side by the end of the film.
Sigourney Weaver’s performance in the movie as the ruthless and over-the-top business woman earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress and won her a Golden Globe Award for the same category. Working Girl, which was released just in time for Christmas in 1988, brought in a global total of $103 million, making it a box office success. Critically, the film performed well earning a perfect score of four out of four stars from legendary film critic, Roger Ebert who said the movie’s plot was “put together like clockwork”. Currently, it sits with an 84% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes and raked in praises surrounding the film’s plot, cast, and directorial work. On the music side of things, the movie’s bustling opening scene featured an original tune by songwriter Carly Simon titled “Let the River Run.” A true piece of genius, the song would win the performer that year’s Academy Award for Best Original Song.
With such a long list of acting credits, a Sigourney Weaver hit movie is not a rare thing, but we think Working Girl shows a side of the actress otherwise missed. Her portrayal of the cutthroat Katharine is equal parts alluring and intimidating and watching her interaction with Griffith is a sight to behold. Along with the incredible acting chops demonstrated in the film, Working Girl was truly ahead of its time. With a storyline that centered around women attempting to climb the corporate ladder, it unveiled a deeply rooted misogynist system, creating a tale that still rings true today. So, next time you’re in the mood for a little Sigourney Weaver movie action, maybe forgo the obvious choices of Avatar and Galaxy Quest (which is also one not to be missed) and instead clock in for Working Girl.