Working Girl Opens
With Carly Simon's anthemic "Let the River Run" scoring Melanie Griffith's Monday-morning commute from Staten Island to Wall Street, Mike Nichols' Working Girl, which opened December 21, 1988, is an upbeat fantasia celebrating female empowerment, class mobility, and the underlying soundness of our financial system. Melanie Griffith, in a delightful, star-making performance, plays a secretary in a Wall Street investment bank who, frustrated by her inability to bust out of the typing pool, impersonates a higher-level executive when her boss, played by Sigourney Weaver, has a skiing accident. When Griffith changes her hair and adopts a more professional (i.e., more upper class) demeanor, she's accepted by other executives and her once dismissed ideas are heard. The film was a big hit, with Nichols smoothly adapting his actor-sensitive style into the mainstream of American commercial cinema. Seen today, Griffith and the film still charm, but can such a story, in which Wall Street is the backdrop for transformational mobility, ever truly resonate again?