The Company Men, 2010

It’s the economy, stupid!  That slogan from a political campaign a few years back is as relevant as ever in today’s wounded economy.  Not just wounded, but bleeding in a slow and steady way, that one wonders when and how the healing will begin, if at all.  And while we’re pondering that question, the more creative among us take this grim situation and make art out of it!  That’s what this movie is all about:  when the recession hit in 2008, it hit everyone– from the factory worker to the white-collar-corporate-climbing-upwardly-mobile-upper-management guys as well.  And Ben Affleck does a fine job of portraying just that guy.

So, what happens when you lose your job without any notice?  Well, what happens is that the job is only the tip of the iceberg.  Slowly but surely, you lose every valuable thing you possess starting with your fancy car and your golf-club membership, to your house, and eventually even your self-respect.  Because that’s how critical it is to be employed, and to be a provider of your family that consists of a wife and two children.  And what happens next?  Well, you move in with your folks, and work for your brother-in-law in his construction business.  You persevere, and you do it any which way you can.  Even if that means occasionally losing it and leaving a nasty voicemail for your former boss.

A star cast of Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Costner and others round out this great all-American story of success, failure, perseverance, and the rugged can-do American spirit.   This is a genre that is fast gaining momentum– first, Up in the Air, and then this.  Art certainly imitates life.

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