Up in the Air (2009)

I guess firing people isn’t as easy as it seems.

Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) racks up miles flying around the country firing employees on behalf of companies. But he faces losing the job he savors to recent college grad Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick) — and losing the ability to escape emotional ties to anything. A connection he builds with Alex Goran (Vera Farmiga), however, might change his outlook on the future.

I reviewed this film awhile back, and my whole attention wasn’t on it fully. So I think what I missed out on then, I’ll understand more clearly now, and I’m so glad I made that decision.

The best thing about this film is it’s incredibly honest screenplay. These people in the 21st century, are going through big economic problems, and the situations they talk about in this film, is very, very true. Most of it is very dramatic, and kind of sad, but there is also a great deal of humor within this screenplay that works.

Writer/Director Jason Reitman gives us a perfect glimpse into the country we live in, around the year 2009. People are losing jobs left and right, many are sad, while others, are still trying to find a way to find happiness in this world. It’s a character study, that has a great deal of depth, mainly cause it feels authentic, and when you see those tragic “firing” scenes, you are just taken back by how real they actually are. I wasn’t in tears to be honest, but those scenes, as well as others, to tug on your heart strings for awhile. And I would have never thought that would have happened to me with George Clooney in the lead.

The problem I had with this film was that the execution at the end, was a little too bumpy. I can’t give too much away, but the transformation of our main character at the end, just seems a bit awkward, and not believable, which sucks, because this whole film seemed so real.

The main character, Ryan Bingham, is so very selfish, and cocky, but George Clooney actually plays this character well. He adds a lot of depth, and believability to the character, so that we can actually stand to be on this trip with him. Anna Kendrick plays this stuck-up business girl very well, because we have seen that act done many, many times before, but she makes it less annoying, and more cute to say the least. Vera Farmiga‘s character gave me a great glimpse into her acting skills, because now I know she can pull off roles like this. She is very good at playing this cool chick, that seems so awesome to be around, but yet, there’s just something about her that still makes you question it all. Her and Clooney create a great chemistry together on screen, that makes their more romantic scenes, seem actually believable. Let’s also not forget the short, but good side performances from the likes of J.K. Simmons, Danny McBride, Jason Bateman, Zach Galifianakis, and Amy Morton.

Consensus: Up in the Air may start to slow down by the end, however, is highly entertaining with its great script, with enough funny moments, and dramatic moments, that are provided by incredibly strong performances from the three leads.

9/10=Full Pricee!!!


  1. Dan…

    It’s cool that you want to spread the word about new films you’ve reviewed, but at the very least, could you not cut and paste the same comment into everyone’s review?

    Sorta makes it seem like you’re less interested in considering our thoughts on the film, and more concerned with spreading the word of your own review.

  2. I understand your frustration with the ending. It felt a little jarring. I enjoyed the movie, but I think the movie will be remembered for the Ryan/Alex relationship then the timely theme of the economic times.

    • I think the Ryan/Alex relationship illuminates an entirely different theme of the movie: the alienation that a culture obsessed with the “self” can bring us. I think, for Reitman, this theme is equally as important as the economic times.

  3. I highly enjoyed Up in the Air. I did think however that while aspiring to be a “serious” movie, it did not take a deeper look into the issue of being unemployed, merely using it to pull on the heartstrings.

  4. Nice review. You definitely liked it more than I did, but I see where you’re coming from. I loved the performances and thought the script was very good, but I had the feeling that the film thought it was “deeper” than it actually is, so I came away from it with a negative impression from the ending.

  5. Dan you are entirely to generous with this film. I must have missed the copy/paste debate thing or maybe I even commented elsewhere and it shows that I’ve deprived myself from sleep for too long now.

    Having said that, I can see some of your points, topical, moments of interesting interchanges and curious scenarios but no one, not Clooney or even the cinematographer could make the flat, listless, and utterly depressing landscape function beyond bleak and downright sad. I know Reitman was operating in this perceived sense of importance regarding the troubled times but I walked out of this movie with a knot in my gut and it took two martinis to clear.

    There are just some movies that never quite settle in and this, for me, is one of them. I didn’t like the annoying girl-shadow that followed him around or his love interest and especially not the ending. It was predictable and unrewarding. I have to dig up my review, I think it is around here somewhere, maybe holding the table leg up straight.

    just checking in->

  6. I thought this was pretty good, but nothing incredibly special. George Clooney plays a good George Clooney, but overall it was kind of standard I thought. I was surprised it was so universally well liked.

  7. I like this movie a lot. But I hadn’t thought that it raise issue about the economics back then. Thanks for making me realize that. Like you said, the ending is a bit cliché. I never liked George Clooney before this movie, maybe because he let himself looked vulnerable when before he always be the guy who gets his way. Thanks again.

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