Up in the Air

Jason Reitman is officially a brilliant filmmaker. After “Thank You For Smoking” and “Juno,” he delivers another surefire awards contender. His third film couldn’t be more timely, thought-provoking, darkly funny, challenging and heartbreaking. George Clooney has one of his best roles to date, and quite possibly delivers his best performance to date.  He plays Ryan Bingham, a service-for-hire executive rented out by companies big and small to essentially terminate employees and save employers from growing a backbone.  Bingham spends most of his time alone, flying all over the country and sleeping in hotels.  His greatest ambition is to earn a record of ten million flier miles and earn himself a special name-tag.  Life switches gears on him when his company hires a new gal (Anna Kendrick) to turn employee termination into a 5-minute private chatroom via the internet, saving the company all the travel expenses.  Bingham objects to the idea and has to take the young graduate under his wing and demonstrate why he is so good at his work.  Along the way he meets Alex Goran (Vera Farmiga–The Departed), another executive with a similar lifestyle of constant travel, and potential romance ensues.

I can’t stress enough how brilliant Clooney is in this film–able to evoke disdain and sympathy within a brisk 2 hours.  Jason Reitman has penned his screenplay adaptation so strategically and carefully, and it really pays off.  He has an ear for dialogue and an eye for his characters.  Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick also deliver strongly in a film praised for great reason.  “Up in the Air” is a brilliant, airy, intelligent, and tragic film well worth seeing.

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Have you seen this movie? Rate it!
Rating: 3.8/5 (5 votes cast)
Up in the Air, 3.8 out of 5 based on 5 ratings 5 COMMENTS


  1. It was an excellent movie on the criteria used by this reviewer. But for me, from a standpoint of how the movie made me feel when it was over, I still say it was a real downer. When, for instance, George/Ryan raced to Chicago to find Alex, I was expecting the movie to take a positive turn, something like him realizing he did want more out of life, etc. Instead, when the movie is over, I had the feeling, for Ryan, akin to “well, I guess that was kinda fun while it lasted, but it’s just back to the sucky daily grind for me.

  2. Agreed. But that’s part of the brilliance of the script and a surprising (albeit depressing) turn in the film.

  3. @Andy Ringsmuth
    I agree. I enjoyed the movie, to a point. If it had ended like any other romantic comedy, with Clooney and Farmiga in love, I would have hated it, but it would have had a point. As is, I spent two hours watching a man go from blissfully happy to completely miserable for no good reason. What was the point? I don’t expect a Disney-esque ending to every film, but there was no good reason for me to watch Up in the Air.

  4. It was certainly a different kind of movie, and I kind of liked the way it shied away from a typical Hollywood happy ending. But I’m not really sure what happened at the end. It was certainly not a romantic comedy, at least not the typical one you would expect (i.e. anything with Nicholas Sparks’ signature). I appreciated the many layers: the idea of growing up, the loss of innocence, the realization of one’s own mortality, the nature of modern always-connected lifestyles and how these are actually pushing people farther apart…there’s a lot of stuff here. So for better or for worse the movie was at least interesting and different, but I don’t know if it was exactly entertaining. Definitely worth checking out, though.

  5. @TacoGrande

    I think it entertains in a non-typical fashion. There’s something very honest, confronting and timely about “Up in the Air,” especially in our current financial climate. It’s definitely funny, smart, and heartbreaking in equal measure. I’m still not sure how to dissect the film’s conclusion, but it makes a greater impact upon the viewer, and I was impressed at how it raises questions rather than pads us with formulaic syrup.

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