Camille Hardman and Gary Lane’s “Still Working 9 to 5” is a wonderful, well-done, and timely documentary about the wonderful, well-done, and timely 1980 comedy “9 to 5” and its enduring legacy.

The picture spends its entertaining first half showing how and why “9 to 5” came to be. It is interesting how the filmmakers parallel the fun “making of” anecdotes with the importance of the feminist movement of the time. Eventually, the film and movement would become one, forever linked in power.

The engrossing onscreen interviews add to the documentary’s heart. Each interviewee (Rita Moreno, Allison Janney, Dabney Coleman, and many more) speaks to their personal experiences with the film. Hardman and Lane capture the sweet bond between the film’s three main actresses. Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Dolly Parton speak of how they only knew one another through magazine articles and public opinion but grew to love and respect one another as they traversed the (at the time) dicey waters of a major female-driven motion picture.

These were three strong women who combined their strengths to create an important classic and speak to women everywhere. It warms the soul to hear these actresses look back with such pride (even if Lily Tomlin’s first instinct was to try and get out of the film!).

Some of the varying viewpoints are eye-opening. A few female activists didn’t care for the broad comedy in “9 to 5” (fearing it drowned out the message), while others saw the film as a bold declaration for the Women’s Liberation movement. These sentiments reflected the picture’s uneven critical reception of the day.

While original writer Patricia Resnick intended the film to be a darker comedy without flights of fancy, it was director Colin Higgins that added the broader comedic tones, but never lost the edge of Resnick’s ideas.

As the years go on, the respect for “9 to 5” has grown considerably; the balance of the laughs and a more serious social message now fully accepted.

The doc’s most powerful moment comes during its focus on the 2009 musical made from “9 to 5” (which Parton calls “the original MeToo musical”). One of its producers, Harvey Weinstein, speaks “sincerely” about women’s emancipation.

The scene is an ugly one (to hear this monster expound on Women’s Rights), but it is important, as it helps to secure what the documentary is trying to do; linking the comedy hit to the continuing struggle for Women’s equality in every aspect of society.

Forty-three years later, Colin Higgins’ hit comedy continues to land the important social issues found between the laughs.

In the workplace and in life, the rights of women are once again on the ropes. Equal rights in the workplace continue to erode.

Just like their subject matter, Camille Hardman and Gary Lane’s documentary is smart and funny and reminds viewers that women’s issues in the workplace are nothing to laugh at. Yet for 90 or so minutes, Fonda, Tomlin, Parton, and company helped lighten the load.

“9 to 5” was (and continues to be) a tribute to the working woman.

Absorbing, entertaining, and informative, “Still Working 9 to 5” is a loving testimonial to the film, it’s legacy, and to women everywhere.


Still Working 9 to 5

Directed by Camille Hardman & Gary Lane

Starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton, Allison Janney

NR, 91 Minutes, Mighty Fine Entertainment