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The Company (2003)

PG-13 | | Drama, Music, Romance | 20 May 2004 (Germany)
2:00 | Trailer

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Ensemble drama centered around a group of ballet dancers, with a focus on one young dancer who's poised to become a principal performer.


Robert Altman


Neve Campbell (story), Barbara Turner (story) | 1 more credit »
2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Neve Campbell ... Loretta 'Ry' Ryan
Malcolm McDowell ... Alberto Antonelli
James Franco ... Josh
Barbara E. Robertson ... Harriet (as Barbara Robertson)
William Dick ... Edouard
Susie Cusack ... Susie
Marilyn Dodds Frank Marilyn Dodds Frank ... Mrs. Ryan
John Lordan John Lordan ... Mr. Ryan
Mariann Mayberry ... Stepmother
Roderick Peeples ... Stepfather
Yasen Peyankov ... Justin's Mentor
Davis C. Robertson Davis C. Robertson ... Alec - Joffrey Dancer (as Davis Robertson)
Deborah Dawn Deborah Dawn ... Deborah - Joffrey Dancer
John Gluckman John Gluckman ... John - Joffrey Dancer
David Gombert David Gombert ... Justin - Joffrey Dancer


An inside look at the world of ballet. With the complete cooperation of the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Altman follows the stories of the dancers, whose professional and personal lives grow impossibly close, as they cope with the demands of a life in the ballet. Campbell plays a gifted but conflicted company member on the verge of becoming a principal dancer at a fictional Chicago troupe, with McDowell the company's co-founder and artistic director, considered one of America's most exciting choreographers. Franco plays Campbell's boyfriend and one of the few characters not involved in the world of dance. Written by Andrea Barney <andrea808@hotmail..com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Music | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 on appeal for brief strong language, some nudity and sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



Germany | USA



Release Date:

20 May 2004 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

A Companhia See more »

Filming Locations:

Chicago, Illinois, USA See more »


Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$93,776, 28 December 2003

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS (8 channels)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This film features Neve Campbell's first semi-nude scene. See more »


At about 1h 45m into the film, during the curtain call, those dancers were standing at different positions from different angles. Watch for the two men who were wearing blue and red bodysuits, they were standing at different places. See more »


Alberto Antonelli: Hit the wall! I want you to move!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The title is not shown until the end of the opening credits. See more »


Referenced in O Lucky Malcolm! (2006) See more »


Creative Force
Music by John Zeretzke
Featured Music Selection: "Ray One"
Performed by John Zeretzke and M.B. Gordy III
By arrangment with Zeretzke Music
See more »

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User Reviews

the graceful and not-so graceful process of art, by one who should know
8 January 2010 | by Quinoa1984See all my reviews

Robert Altman sets the stage and lets his players do what they do in his films. He's renown as one of the great directors to give actors freedom (he's probably in his own way as meticulous as Stanley Kubrick, only with far less takes), though one wonders if from time to time he does give his direction to an actor or to make sure they know what they're doing. But in his films, like with this Chicago dancing company presented in his 2003 film The Company, the people doing the work need to know what they're doing, and that's the key to getting process, since dance, like film, combines many elements (in terms of dance there's physical movement, there's acting and performance, there's emotion, there's music and lighting, and so on).

I imagine that's what drew Altman to the project (it was said it took some consideration before he accepted the job), that and perhaps a connection with the character Malcolm McDowell plays, Mr. Antonelli. He doesn't have much of a ego, but when he needs to (or just wants to) he'll put on airs. While some of the students may roast him eventually- there's a company Christmas party where he's ruthlessly but pleasantly mocked- they always take what he says seriously, since when he speaks one listens, even if it's a rambling speech about what the 1960's were like. He, like Altman, is in control even when he doesn't seem to be doing much. And how the stage is set, as we see, goes a long way for a fantastic dance set-piece, be it with thirty people in crazy costumes or a couple in very sensual poses.

The Company has not much plot to speak of- then again, Altman would probably rather get a root canal than worry about a plot- except that it's about a dance/ballet company putting on performances throughout a season, with some minor drama here and there, a small romance between a superstar in the group played by Neve Campbell and a chef played by James Franco (tender scenes but played for real, much like those in Thieves Like Us). But there are a few great scenes (and as Hawks would say, no bad ones), and one of them might be one of my favorite scenes, in terms of intentional (or not) artistic elements coming together, in any Altman film. There's a performance out at night in a park in front of hundreds. The first part goes reasonably well, with thunderstorm sounds in the background. Then Campbell and another dancer take the stage, and as the lovely string music swells, the lightning and thunder as well, and the rain falls and the crowd looks anxious but all the while wrapped up in the completely professional-breathtaking dancing on stage, with little dust and other things flying in the air. It's glorious.

How much that was on the spot for Altman, or if it was planned to just shoot in the impending storm (or, perhaps, if it's all just made up for the movie), it's a really wonderful set piece among many others that are more conventionally stage-bound and shot with multiple cameras. The assortment is nice to see (a song from David Lynch's Industrial Symphony #1 even comes up). But it's those little scenes between people, where Altman breaks down artifice (or adds to it seamlessly, like a dance itself) that The Company gains its strength. One of which is the first time Franco and Campbell meet eye to eye at a bar. Watch as Franco sits and watched her play pool. This could go any number of ways from creepy to erotic, but it's more playful and ambiguous than that. We see the aftermath of this scene in a morning-after follow-up, but it's how Altman lets these actors be natural, find their space to look at one another or play pool, that is extraordinary.

What The Company lacks in melodramatic tension or a real driving force towards something- the one criticism it could be given, though not a harsh one, is an almost disdain for any continuing conflict- is made up for in a principle need to express what it's like to create something, anything, on stage or on film, that's worth something. It's the work of an old master still looking for ways to create, or observe it being done.

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