The Work

2017 • 89 minutes
23 reviews
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About this movie

Set inside a single room in Folsom Prison, "The Work" follows three men from outside as they participate in a four-day group therapy retreat with level-four convicts. Over the four days, each man in the room takes his turn at delving deep into his past. The raw and revealing process that the incarcerated men undertake exceeds the expectations of the free men, ripping them out of their comfort zones and forcing them to see themselves and the prisoners in unexpected ways. "The Work" offers a powerful and rare look past the cinder block walls, steel doors and the dehumanizing tropes in our culture to reveal a movement of change and redemption that transcends what we think of as rehabilitation.
23 reviews
A Google user
November 27, 2017
One of the most powerful and moving films I've seen in the past few years. A dramatic exploration of men learning how to connect with their emotions and develop the wisdom to probe pain, fear, and sadness with courage, pride, and support. The catharsis was palpable, and sometimes uncomfortable to watch, but the healing was transformative for both the subjects and the audience. This film shows the extreme consequences of dysfunctional masculinity and the medicine that can ameliorate that cultural wound. I'd highly recommend this film for anyone wanting to develop emotional intelligence, or wondering what a more functional masculinity may look like.
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Dawn Kwan
August 30, 2022
Incredible documentary. I was skeptical at first but gradually identified with many of the people who went through the work. The film really shows how early childhood trauma/experience shapes us, and could lead one to incarceration. I wish we could have more love and give people second chances in life. It's incredible how many of the prisoners have gotten in touch with themselves and don't want to hurt anyone anymore. Love heals but gets overlooked with day-to-day churn and tasks.
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Holy Pirate
January 15, 2019
Having done similar work with men for the past 11 years, the movie is excellent. "The Work" provides a rare glimpse into the emotional and spiritual freedom that people (not just men) can experience if they are brave enough to dive into their own stories and woundings. I've never met these men, but sharing a similar experience makes me think of them as brothers. I highly recommend this film, and tip my hat to the participants. It takes incredible guts to do this work, more so to let the world see
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