"Up in the Air" lifts spirits of some unemployed

Mon Feb 8, 2010 1:40pm EST
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By Christine Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - When Andy Glantzman agreed to be filmed baring his soul about what it was like to lose his job, he didn't expect millions to see his confession.

But instead of winding up in a documentary as he expected, Glantzman and 21 other fired workers, found themselves with bit parts in the movie "Up in the Air" which last week earned six Oscar nominations, including best film and best director.

The film stars George Clooney as a corporate hatchet man who fires people for a living. It includes cuts of Glantzman and others talking about their real-life experiences.

A year later, many of the 22 recession victims shown in the film have new jobs. Their stories may offer hope to others.

"The movie gave me a reason to get out of the house and put a suit on and feel worthwhile instead of sitting around waiting for my next unemployment check," Glantzman said in an interview. "It all starts with raising your self esteem."

Glantzman was fired from a luxury car dealership in Detroit a few weeks before he spotted a newspaper ad asking for people who lost their jobs to send in a letter describing their loss. He was picked to reenact the experience and what he wished he had said to his old employer.

"I found that to be extremely therapeutic. I knew I certainly wasn't alone," he said. Four months later he had relocated to Grand Rapids, Michigan and found a job in a charter schools company.