As if living in economically crippling home isolation wasn’t stressful enough already, movie fans—especially fans who love the theater experience like myself—are now feeling the anxiety of studios and theater chains feuding over streaming.

Whether movies can make as much money through home releases as in theaters seems a moot point when the average consumer is more desperate than usual for new material. But Brainstorm Media’s new film Working Man might have not gotten as much attention with its originally planned theatrical release than it’s getting as one of the few new movies going straight to streaming.

This new independent film takes place in a small, Midwestern town with the currently ironic theme of a local factory shutting down, leaving all its employees out of jobs. Most are naturally upset, but one older worker named Allery Parkes (Peter Gerety) refuses to accept his fate, and secretly continues to sneak back into the building to work, even if just to clean company supplies and equipment.

The other workers, and even Allery’s wife Iola (Talia Shire), chalk his behavior to possibly going senile. But one colleague and neighbor, Walter (Billy Brown), thinks Allery’s peculiar motive has the potential to not only send a message, but also create new opportunity.

Working Man is a new feature by first time filmmaker Robert Jury, and the writer-director couldn’t have gotten a more mixed blessing with the global pandemic. The film does feel a bit like a first-time effort with the small production values and only one big name (Shire) in the cast.

But the theme is especially appropriate now, and the cast does well with the material. Some of the dialogue in the first half is a little stilted, but improves as the story progresses. There is a twist in Brown’s character that prevents the picture from possibly getting too cheesy. We get a happy ending, but not the one some might expect at first.

Working Man is a rather quaint and unpretentious, but sometimes that might just be what you need during a difficult time.

Megan Bianco is a Southern California-based movie reviewer and content writer with a degree from California State University Northridge.

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