IMDb > The Business of Strangers (2001)
The Business of Strangers
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The Business of Strangers (2001) More at IMDbPro »

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The Business of Strangers -- In this compelling drama, a successful businesswoman and her new assistant play a game of power and manipulation. Starring Stockard Channing and Julia Stiles. From IFC Films.


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6.4/10   3,413 votes »
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Release Date:
21 December 2001 (USA) See more »
Two businesswomen bond and reveal their inner natures while getting carried away on a revenge attack against an accused rapist. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
4 wins & 6 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Edgy, daring, unconventional See more (78 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Directed by
Patrick Stettner 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Patrick Stettner 

Produced by
Ramsey Fong .... associate producer
Scott McGehee .... executive producer
Robert H. Nathan .... producer
David Siegel .... executive producer
Susan A. Stover .... producer
Derrick Tseng .... line producer
Original Music by
Alex Lasarenko  (as Alexander Lasarenko)
Cinematography by
Teodoro Maniaci (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Keiko Deguchi 
Casting by
Nicole Arbusto 
Joy Dickson 
Production Design by
Dina Goldman 
Art Direction by
Richard Burgess 
Set Decoration by
Tora Peterson 
Costume Design by
Kasia Walicka-Maimone  (as Kasia Walicka Maimone)
Dawn Weisberg 
Makeup Department
Francesca Buccellato .... assistant makeup artist
Sasha Cummins .... key hair stylist
Maya Hardinge .... additional makeup artist
Mia Thoen .... key makeup artist
Production Management
Ramsey Fong .... post-production supervisor
Sophia Lin .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Cecily Kaston .... first assistant director
Michael A. Moffa .... second second assistant director (as Michael Moffa)
Peter Thorell .... second assistant director
Art Department
Brooke Bramley .... property master
Justin Davis .... carpenter
Hoge Day .... storyboard artist
Mathew Demek .... swing carpenter
Maus Drechsler .... scenic artist
Maus Drechsler .... set dresser
Ana Katharina Dreschsler .... scenic artist
Sherief Elkatsha .... assistant property master (as Sherief El Katsha)
David Evjen .... carpenter
Julie Khort .... art department intern
Robert Mansmann .... carpenter
Rob Marsteller .... set dresser
Joseph Nerone .... scenic artist
Charlotte Newman .... art department coordinator
June Okada .... art department intern
Peter Ruen .... carpenter
Lisa Schilling .... on-set dresser
Dan Schweiger .... swing
Jim Wright .... set dresser
Joanna M. Wright .... set dresser
Sound Department
Rachel Chancey .... adr assistant
Marko A. Costanzo .... foley artist (as Marco Costanzo)
Jesse Ehredt .... sound recordist
Eugene Gearty .... supervising sound editor
Anguibe Guindo .... boom operator (as A.G. Guindo)
Jason Kaplan .... adr engineer
Frank Kern .... foley editor
George A. Lara .... foley recordist
Skip Lievsay .... sound re-recording mixer
Bill Orrico .... assistant sound editor
Jac Rubenstein .... adr editor
Jac Rubenstein .... dialog editor
Noah Timan .... production sound mixer (as Noah Vivekenand Timan)
Larry Wineland .... assistant sound editor
Philip Young .... adr recordist
James Ziegler .... stereo sound consultant: Dolby (as James C. Ziegler)
Rich Allison .... additional adr recordist (uncredited)
Andrew Edelman .... additional production sound mixer (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
Jennifer Basnyat .... title designer
Manny Siverio .... stunt coordinator
Camera and Electrical Department
Joseph Albanese .... additional grip (as Joe Albanese)
Will Arnot .... Steadicam operator
Steve Becker .... third electrician
Crush Boone .... additional grip
Matthew D. Canton .... additional camera loader
Radium Cheung .... additional grip
Matt Craig .... additional electrician (as Matthew Craig)
Sylvain D'Hautcourt .... first assistant camera
Tom Fennimore .... camera car (as Thomas Fennimore)
Andrew Fishman .... additional grip
Robert Glynn .... additional grip (as Robert 'Opie' Glynn)
Erin Grgic .... additional grip
Richard Griggs .... additional grip
Melissa Guimaraes .... additional grip
Chris Hayse .... additional grip
Gus Hein .... camera car
Matthew Kramer .... additional grip
John Kuegel .... additional grip
Marc Labbate .... best boy electric
Chris Lally .... additional grip (as Peter Chris Lally)
Scott Levy .... gaffer (as Scott E. Levy)
Anka Malatynska .... film loader
Ed Mattson .... best boy grip
Brian McKee .... key grip
Mayu Nakamura .... additional grip
Steven C. O'Neill .... additional grip
Steven C. O'Neill .... grip
Stacey H. Osbeck .... additional grip
Quinn Pawlan .... additional grip
Edward Read .... additional gaffer (as Edward 'Ted' Read)
Edward Read .... camera operator: "b" camera (as Edward 'Ted' Read)
Scott Read .... additional electrician
Timothy Reilly .... additional grip (as Tim 'Lopez' Reilly)
Timothy Reilly .... third grip (as Tim 'Lopez' Reilly)
Ilse Rumes .... additional grip
Chris Scarafile .... additional grip
Cory Schaub .... additional electrician
Ken Shibata .... additional electrician
Markham Sindeband .... additional grip
Craig Striano .... third grip
Dwight Tudor .... second assistant camera (as J. Dwight Tudor)
JoJo Whilden .... still photographer
Justin Whitaker .... additional electrician
Benjamin Seth Wolf .... additional grip (as Benjamin Wolf)
Casting Department
Jeremy Rich .... extras casting associate
Todd Thaler .... additional casting
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Casey Court .... additional wardrobe
Danita Knight .... wardrobe supervisor
Karyn Larkin .... additional wardrobe
Maria Schoenherr .... additional wardrobe
Editorial Department
Sam Daley .... dailies colorist
Jedd Ehrmann .... on-line editor
Dave Pultz .... color timer (as David Pultz)
Jennifer Ruff .... assistant editor (as Jenn Ruff)
David A. Smith .... assistant editor (as David Smith)
Stan Sztaba .... negative cutter
Patricia Sztaba .... negative cutter (uncredited)
Music Department
Larry Alexander .... score mixer
Linda Cohen .... music consultant
Tony Finno .... orchestrator
Michelle King .... music producer
Eric Perlmutter .... score engineer
Jac Rubenstein .... music editor
Andy Solomon .... music producer
Alex Steyermark .... music consultant
Transportation Department
Frank J. Apicelli .... driver: generator truck (as Frank Apicelli)
Kevin Finnegan .... driver: generator truck
Joseph Johnson .... additional driver
Sean Leahy .... additional driver
Other crew
Yahya Abdul-Aleen .... parking production assistant
Justin Allen .... additional production assistant
Lloyd A. Bent .... parking production assistant
Peter Bobrow .... location scout
Coreen Bourke .... photo model
Jim Buckman .... teamster captain
Dale Cannedy .... assistant to producers
Dorel Chesson .... parking production assistant
Keith L. Cochrane .... parking production assistant
Jamie Cohen .... clearance (as Jamie Cohen Hort)
Jamie Cohen .... product placement (as Jamie Cohen Hort)
Tobias Core .... set production assistant
Jennifer Cossetto .... title designer
Steve Curley .... assistant location manager
Lauren D'Alvia .... additional production assistant
Lauren D'Alvia .... location scout
Chris Del Sordo .... location intern
Janna DeLury .... script supervisor
Matt Duell .... additional production assistant
Matt Duell .... set intern
Mark Erdman .... production secretary
Eric Espeut III .... production assistant
Patrick Floyd .... set production assistant
Eliot Gerstel .... additional production assistant
Dave Ginsberg .... set production assistant (as David Ginsberg)
David 'Skip' Glew .... key set production assistant
Joe Guest .... location scout (as Joe C. Guest)
Marlus Harding .... post-production accountant (as Marlus C. Harding)
Marlus Harding .... production accountant (as Marlus C. Harding)
Erin Heidenreich .... sales agent
Urs Hirschbiegel .... assistant production coordinator
Karyn Jacobsen .... additional production assistant (as Karyn Jacobson)
Jon M. Johnson .... parking coordinator
William Johnson .... parking production assistant (as William G. Johnson)
Stanley Jordan .... parking production assistant
Joe Kelly .... location consultant (as Joseph Kelly)
Ryan Khavari .... assistant to producers
Kristen Kusama .... office production assistant
Jason Luthman .... additional production assistant
Melody M. .... production office coordinator
Ian MacGregor .... location scout
Mario Martin .... security officer
Rich Messner .... craft service
Elisa Miller .... production office intern
Charlotte Newman .... clearance
Charlotte Newman .... product placement
Winnie Ng .... production office intern
Guillaume Renberg .... remote head technician
Demian Resnick .... location manager
Tracy Sabero .... photo model
R.S. Saltzman .... photo model
Tom Self .... set production assistant (as Thomas Self)
Marty Shea .... accounting assistant
Nathan Sylvester .... location assistant
April Taylor .... key set production assistant
Hunter Thompson .... set production assistant
Norberto Valle Jr. .... projectionist (as Norberto Valle)
Jan Luc Van Damme .... set production assistant
Scott Vizioli .... additional production assistant
Derek Wimble .... set production assistant
Robert A. Wise .... security officer
Jonathan Bepler .... music inspiration

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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated R for strong language and some sexuality
84 min
Color (DuArt)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Crew or equipment visible: In the opening scene in the airport as the camera moves in through the passengers toward Julia Stiles from behind, the camera approaches from behind the left shoulder of a stranger and hits him hard enough that his head first snaps hard to the right, then bounces back to the left into the frame again just before he moves out of the camera's view.See more »
Paula:I like the sloppiness of real life.See more »
Movie Connections:
Features "Charlie Rose" (1991)See more »


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14 out of 22 people found the following review useful.
Edgy, daring, unconventional, 23 September 2003
Author: Dennis Littrell from United States

Near the beginning of this imaginative film when Paula Murphy (20-year-old Julia Stiles) and Julie Styron (Stockard Channing) meet in earnest, Paula tells Julie what she really does in life: "I'm a writer," she says. I write short stories about things that I experience. Nonfiction. "Fiction is too stupid, too neat. I like the sloppiness of real life." What we don't know at the time is that Paula is about to improvise just such a tale involving Julie, a tale that challenges the middle-aged executive's lifestyle and her assumptions about herself and inspires her to do things she wouldn't normally do.

This is the "business of strangers." And this is the story within the story. Paula is the diabolical kind of person who is dedicated to introducing people to themselves so that she can watch them twist, a privileged, under-achieving Ivy League girl with machinations. Julie is a community college workaholic who never had time for a family, or love, or self-discovery, a lonely woman whose life is a parade of sterile hotel rooms, anonymous strangers, alcohol and pills. Although the story drags in a little in spots, the overall effect is edgy and fascinating, and the contrast between the principals keeps us wondering who is going to come out on top.

The action really begins when Julie, in an expansive mood with some booze and her promotion to CEO, shows some interest in the girl she just fired for being late to a presentation. It's not clear what sort of interest that is. Julie responds as a spider coaxing a fly into the web, but it's not clear what she's up to. They go to the pool and play around, get on the treadmills at the gym and run. They go back to Julie's suite and drink some more.

At this point I'm afraid that the film will deteriorate into a politically correct cliché of some kind, or a lesbian wish-fulfillment debacle, without anything really happening. Enter (or actually re-enter) Nick Harris (Fred Weller) who, Paula has confided to Julie, raped her best friend when they were undergraduates in Boston. This excites Julie's loathing and so the two women play out an improvised and drunken revenge scenario that is a bit over the top, but psychologically correct.

After some intense emotional interaction, the film resolves surprisingly and rather neatly, allowing us to see that Paula has indeed spun out a tale whose moral might be, "watch out for young foxes." The scene in the airport emphasizes this, with Julie and Nick sheepishly sorting out last night's bizarre debauchery while trying to maintain their dignity, with Paula poised brazenly in plain sight wearing earphones, a smug silhouette in the distance.

Patrick Stettner wrote the script, which, judging from the series of stationary settings and the limited cast, I suspect was originally a stage play. He also directed in a business-like manner, getting a saucy and smirk-laden performance from Stiles, whose originality and talent is obvious, and a steady and believable one from veteran Channing. Incidentally, Channing is a Harvard graduate who is perhaps best known for her performance as Betty Rizzo in Grease (1978) playing a teenager when she was 32-years-old! Here she braves some close camera work that starkly reveals the 57-year-old actress beneath the makeup. Yet, as always, Stockard Channing pleases us.

But see this for Julia Stiles, a thoroughly professional player, whose arrogant, sneering, and edgy style add spice to, and partially disguise, her youthful mastery of the fine art of acting.

(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon!)

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