Whitney Walmer
Associate Arts & Culture Editor

Looking back on September 11, 2001, where lives were forever changed when 2,996 lives had been lost in terroristic attacks on the Pentagon, World Trade Center, and lastly, flight 93. As this year marks the 20th anniversary of the tragic event, the film “Worth,” directed by Sara Colangelo, released September 3, 2021, depicts the after-effects of 9/11 based on true events, further explaining the government’s procedure in place. Following the tragic event, Congress enacted a Victims Compensation Find (VCF) that compensated individuals present during the attacks in the three locations from September 11, 2001, to May 30, 2002. Kenneth Feinberg (Michael Keaton), a well-known attorney in the state of New York City, had been named special master and mediated the Victims Compensation Fund, setting his firm with the paradoxical task. The task of pivoting deciding the worth of each life. 

As there is a troubling deadline set in place for Feinberg and his coworkers to crunch the numbers with the constant pressure of satisfying the many who had suffered through so much, persistency is vital. With already standing complications, the firm is challenged by Charles Wolf (Stanley Wolf), an activist trying to fight against the fund because he feels that the act is unjust after losing his wife, Katherine, in the 9/11 attack. His goal was to shine a light on how the event truly impacted people, and that money would not take feelings of sorrow away. 

In filing the claim to receive the fund, members had to share their grievances and relationship with their loved ones, which was not easy. Feinberg had not taken part in the interviews at first, but the more involved he had become as the deadline had gotten closer. The interactions that he had with Charles Wolf made what he was doing for these people become more apparent, and he saw their actions through the eyes of compassion. 

As the film reveals the telling of a real-life event, you can’t help but feel the hurt that the victims must have felt that dreadful day. Yet, there was also a sense of understanding that the audience would gain through imagery and drama as time passed. I would imagine that taking part in reenacting something significant in American history had not been easy, even for the faint of heart. 

 The fund being the first of its kind in the United States with 97% of the individuals filing for the compensation, there had been a distribution of 7 billion dollars, leaving 94 individuals who had refused. For more information about the fund, see  https://www.vcf.gov/