what is life worth, and can you put a price on it? This question is often asked in the legal field and the answer is a number. This is the premise of Worth, the film based on real events following the attacks of 11 September 2001. Directed by Sara Colangelo, from a screenplay by Max Borenstein, the film stars Michael Keaton, Amy Ryan, Stanley Tucci, Tate Donovan, Shunori Ramanathan and Laura Benanti.
The Horror of Hundreds of Lives Scarred by Tragedy
On 11 September 2001, the United States experienced one of the most appalling moments in its history. The most vicious attack on American soil. That beautiful, clear day of 11 September has become one of the darkest days in American history. Four planes were hijacked and crashed into iconic US buildings: the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and perhaps another target was the White House or the Capitol. This attack resulted in the deaths of almost 3,000 people.
Worth and the compensation controversy
While it is true that the 9/11 attacks have been portrayed (with greater or lesser success) on several occasions in film and literature, this is the first time that a film has tackled one of the issues that perhaps had yet to be told: the controversial compensation payments to the victims’ families in the months following the attacks. And Worth does so, 20 years after that terrible event.
Michael Keaton plays the lawyer Kenneth Feinberg, who was in charge of calculating the financial compensation for the victims of 9/11. In reality, Feinberg’s job is to put a figure on the human tragedy. He was in charge of coordinating the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.
Thus, together with his team of experts, he will create a formula to determine the reference value, in financial terms, of each of the victims of the attack with the aim that at least 80% of the victims’ families will agree with this equation and will not sue the airlines. To create this formula, this equation, Feinberg calculated the potential earnings that each of the victims would have generated had they stayed alive. And this is where the problem comes in: is this formula fair? According to this equation, a senior executive would not receive the same compensation as a caretaker. Two lives, then, are not worth the same.
Charles Wolf (Stanley Tucci) will be one of Feinberg’s toughest rivals. Wolf, whose wife was killed in the bombing, will lead a campaign against the Compensation Fund formula, demanding that the formula be fixed so that compensation can be fair and equitable.
worth is a courtroom drama that does not disappoint
Worth is a courtroom drama, yes, but it is also the story of the transformation of a man who is finally able to come to terms with the fact that no life is worth more than any other and that human beings cannot be reduced to mere numbers. The protagonist’s initial cynicism eventually turns to compassion as he begins to listen to the victims’ families and begins to understand the true human costs of the tragedy. The film is obviously charged with drama because of the sensitive subject matter. The stories of the bereaved parents, lovers, spouses and children of the deceased that can be heard throughout the film bring us closer, if possible, to the suffering they endured. It is also a thought-provoking film because of the thorny ethical questions it raises, especially at the beginning. Touching. So that we don’t forget the essential value of empathy.
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