Netflix’s original film Worth tells a 9/11 story that most Americans might not know too much about. Focusing on the formation of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, and the in and outs of the process to get it instituted, Michael Keaton and Amy Ryan deliver two of the pivotal performances that make up the heart of this film. It’s an aspect of 9/11 that viewers might be surprised to learn about, and even Ms. Ryan herself was amazed by how director Sara Colangelo’s film tackled this unique facet of history.
On behalf of the release of Worth onto Netflix’s streaming library, I was given the opportunity to speak with Amy Ryan, who plays attorney Camille Biros in the film. Alongside attorney Kenneth Feinberg (Michael Keaton), who served as special master to the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, Biros heard claims from families who had lost loved ones in the devastating terrorist attack. It was that aspect of Worth that helped hook Ryan into her role, as well as the story of writer Max Borenstein’s script:
Based on Kenneth Feinberg’s memoir, What Is Life Worth, the film audiences will see in front of them doesn’t focus on the tragedy of September 11th itself. Rather than revisit the events, which have been chronicled in various other documentaries and historical dramas like United 93 or Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center, Worth chooses to tell the story of the immediate aftermath. As families tried to figure out how they were going to live without those they’d lost, Feinberg, Camille Biros and the rest of their legal team were trying to work out a settlement that was supposed to stave off a financial apocalypse.
Those two concepts don’t seem like they’d make for an emotional drama on paper. Much like we see Michael Keaton and Amy Ryan bridge the gap between what makes legal sense and what makes human sense, Worth is both a study in law and a portrait of humanity. And ultimately, as Ryan described it, the film is also a snapshot of a time when everyone came together in the face of adversity:
As audiences view Worth, hopefully they’ll be moved by the honest emotion and intense detail given to the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund’s creation. With the 20th anniversary already starting to be commemorated, Amy Ryan and her co-stars deliver a reminder of the very human processes that helped the nation heal in those early years after. A true story of compassion and justice, Worth is currently available on Netflix.
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