TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL 2022 REVIEW! Employee Of The Month (L’employée du mois), directed by Véronique Jadin, who co-wrote the screenplay with Nina Vanspranghe, is a darkly comedic look at sexism in the workplace. Inès (Jasmina Douieb) has been dutifully working at EcoClean for a while now. But when she gets passed over for a raise, despite everyone else in the office getting one, the meek lady grows a backbone and asks her boss, Patrick (Peter Van den Begin), for a raise. This is denied, and unfortunately, Inès can’t turn to any other co-worker, as they all treat her like a janitor or act like she’s entirely invisible.
Well, everyone, that is except for Melody (Laetitia Mampaka), who just started today. But things take a wildly unexpected turn when Melody and Inès accidentally kill Patrick. Of course, being a good friend, Melody vows to help Inès cover up the murder, but that is easier said than done, as all the other employees of EcoClean need Patrick to sign this or that form. But an even bigger wrinkle walks through the cleaning supply company’s doors when the French version of the I.R.S. comes looking for Patrick, who’s under investigation for fraud.
“…Melody vows to help Inès cover up the murder…”
Employee Of The Month sets its farcical tone during the opening and never misses a beat until the closing credits stop rolling. There’s a broadly comedic scene at the beginning where a late co-worker interrupts Inès during a meeting to make more coffee. Why couldn’t he make more coffee (especially since he doesn’t like it)? As is repeatedly stated, such a thing is “not my job.” And anything that isn’t someone else’s duties falls to Inès, whether or not it is hers. Jadin and Vanspranghe do an excellent job of laying down all the frustrations the leads face exaggeratedly and humorously, which helps maintain empathy for Inès and Melody despite some of the actions they take later on.
Of course, other co-workers either discover the truth about Patrick or also deserve to be snuffed out. The fun comes in seeing Inès come out of her shell, take charge, and finally get what she is deserved. To that end, the filmmakers have written a three-dimensional and engaging character in Inès. The humor stems from how broad everyone surrounding her is. It’s like she’s the only real person and everyone else is a caricature, save for Melody, of course.
"…ratchets up the zany antics into a thrilling and hilarious conclusion."