Worth

In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, a lawyer faces an emotional reckoning as he attempts to put a dollar value on the lives lost. Based on real events.

Year: 2021
Certificate: 12
Runtime: 1hr 58m
Director: Sara Colangelo
Starring: Michael KeatonStanley TucciAmy RyanShunori RamanathanAto Blankson-WoodTate DonovanLaura BenantiChris Tardio

Information Page: https://www.newonnetflix.info/info/80226212

When tragedy happens someone often gets blamed. In the days after events that changed the world on September 11, 2001 in New York city, the airlines realised the blame would be placed squarely on their shoulders. The US government quickly realised that if the families of the victims decided to sue the airlines, the airlines would go out of business. If the airlines went out of business, the infrastructure would collapse causing untold problems. To avoid this they created the ‘September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF)’. A fund of over seven billion dollars to compensate the 2,996 victims of the attacks and those injured in the aftermath and clearance.

So how do you justify how much the families of these victims receive? How much is a life worth? Is a cleaner worth more or less than a stock broker? Someone has to answer these questions and that person was Lawyer Kenneth Feinberg.

Feinberg (Michael Keaton) was placed in the position of ‘Special Master’, which meant he had final say in the compensation given to relatives and loved ones. In his opinion emotions had to be pushed to one side and a formula was created – a simple test to determine what an individuals worth was. It looked at someone’s salary, the cost of living that his or her family would have to deal with due to that persons death such as mortgages and other debts. The contribution to society that person had made and many other aspects of their lives. That is what would determine how much that persons life was worth.
As you can imagine, the families did not agree with Feinberg and his emotionless, formulaic approach.

One such person was Charles Wolf (Stanley Tucci) whose wife died in the North Tower. He believed Feinberg’s approach was wrong and created a counter argument and a website called ‘Fix the Fund’ which encouraged people to avoid dealing with the VCF and look into the possibility of lawsuits against the airlines.

‘Worth’ in some ways was an uncomfortable film to watch as, even after 20 years (this review is written on the eve of the 20th anniversary), it’s still difficult to believe these attacks really happened. In other ways, ‘Worth’ is a great insight to a story that nobody really knew. As someone not affected directly by these events, it’s easy to forget the aftermath – the long standing effects of the families affected.

Keaton gives a great performance as Ken Feinberg. He did a great job of showing the internal struggle of trying to stay objective and not allowing emotion to affect his judgment. He also played brilliantly off the character played by Stanley Tucci. They are both great actors and they both shine on screen.

Although based on a true story, the script doesn’t really do anything other than the basics and I wouldn’t be surprised if, unlike other Hollywood retellings, the true story and the scripts are very similar. With such an emotive subject, this was probably a good idea. Nonetheless, the story is an intriguing one and one told well.

Have you seen this film? Let us know your opinions in the comments below and of course if there are any films on Netflix UK you want us to review let us know!

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