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Thursday, September 29, 2022


So, is he a good boss – or outright bad guy? This is the intriguing question posed in writer/director Fernando Leon De Aranoa’s cleverly crafted movie The Good Boss.  (Review by Barry Meehan)

The Good Boss is one of the films on the forthcoming European Film Festival in South Africa which goes hybrid for its 9th edition between October 13 and 23, 2022.

Writer/Director: Fernando León De Aranoa

Country of Origin: Spain

Language: Spanish with English Subtitles

Running Time: 120 Minutes

Leads: Javier Bardem, Sonia Almarcha, Almudena Amor


The “boss” in question is Julio Blanco, the head of Basculas Blanco, a Spanish firm that manufactures industrial scales. Blanco is admirably portrayed as the caring and sharing company chair who treats all employees as family by Javier Bardem, who eagle-eyed viewers might remember as the villain Raoul Silva in the 2012 Bond film, Skyfall.

Well-tailored and sporting a splendid mane of greying hair, Blanco (or Julio, as he asks his employees to call him to keep up the family image) is all about appearances, balance and justice, and likes to be seen meting out justice in a balanced manner. As the movie opens, he is pontificating to the assembled staff about how industrious they are, and how appreciative he would be if they could take their productivity up slightly as the factory is about to be visited by a committee of judges from the “Oscar of Awards”, which would showcase Basculas Blanco as the top scales company in all of Spain.

Unfortunately, a couple of problems rear their ugly heads – Jose (Oscar De La Fuente), a recently-fired employee has shown up at the factory with his two children, protesting his termination. And Miralles (Manolo Solo) a long-time friend and Blanco’s production manager, is in danger of having a breakdown, making big mistakes that affect production as he’s convinced his wife is having an affair. Blanco tries to appear sympathetic to both of these employees, but in whose interests is he actually acting? And does he take things too far by entering into a discussion with Miralles’s wife? Is this interference or a genuine effort to solve his employee’s problems?

There is also the question of his womanising, which he appears to regard as his right and privilege, especially with his shapely female interns, who are with the company for a month, so a steady stream of them come and go. The latest “victim” (or is she?) is the rather beautiful Liliana (Almudena Amor), but things don’t go according to the tried and tested seduction route employed by Blanco.

So, is he a good boss – or outright bad guy? This is the intriguing question posed in writer/director Fernando Leon De Aranoa’s cleverly crafted movie.

The further into the movie one goes, the more catastrophic the situation becomes, with Jose setting up a permanent protest station opposite the front gate of the factory, Liliana causing a re-think of Blanco’s seduction strategy, and Miralles getting more and more despondent about his wife’s infidelity, making bigger mistakes. In his efforts to sort things out before the committee arrives for their inspection, Blanco continually compounds the errors, still believing that everything he does is for the good of the company (and himself).

The Good Boss is a very entertaining movie, with some superb acting (especially from Bardem). It’s amusing in a quiet way as an unconventional situation becomes near-farcical. Highly recommended. – Barry Meehan


The European Film Festival 2022 is screened online and runs from October 13 to 23, with all movies screened for free. There are also some showings in cinemas in Cape Town and Johannesburg. For more information, click on the Festival logo to the right of this article or visit