The Clockwatchers

Director: Jill Sprecher
Screenwriters: Karen Sprecher, Jill Sprecher

Institute History

  • 1997 Sundance Film Festival


Iris (Muriel’s Wedding’s Toni Collette) doesn’t mind temporary work. She gets to go to new places, be a part of the crowd, and do different things each day. That gives her plenty of time to think, and the people are cordial enough. At Global Credit, she makes friends with the other temps right away. Margaret (Parker Posey) shows her the ropes, including tips on getting the most out of the job. Then there’s Paula (Lisa Kudrow), waiting for her acting career to explode, and Jane (Alanna Ubach), waiting for her boyfriend to propose. They form a group, sharing the stigma of not being accepted by the “permanents.” But when the president of the company hires a new assistant, and strange events follow, the temps’ delicate bond comes unraveled. The women turn on each other in a downward spiral of paranoia, suspicion, and betrayal.

The Clockwatchers paints a hilariously unforgettable, intimate portrait of the day-to-day nuances of office life. The monotonous routine of an oppressive job is perfectly captured in the film’s examination of minute details. Director Jill Sprecher makes the mundane fascinating, not an easy task. Her screenplay collaboration with Karen Sprecher marks a stunning achievement in original storytelling, pacing, and human drama. The timely theme of transience in contemporary society is explored through the tenuous connections between people, objects, and events. Office politics and intrigue are at the surface, while the film ultimately wrestles with the search for identity and meaning. If you’ve ever worked in an office, this film will call out to you.

— Lisa Viola

Screening Details

As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]