Up in the Air 2009 Movie Scene George Clooney as Ryan Bingham at an airport about to board a plane

Up in the Air [2009]

Behind the deceptive title Up in the Air hides a thinking man’s comedy featuring an engaging story and a great cast. The movie is based on a novel of the same name written by Walter Kirn. We will be following Mr. Ryan Bingham who’s a professional firer of people. Wait, that didn’t sound right, or did it? Anyways, the proper term is not to fire someone but to let him or her go, we have to be specific here. And don’t worry, despite this juicy premise ripe for one of my rants about late-stage capitalism, I won’t bother you too much.

Mostly because Up in the Air is such a well-crafted movie that it basically speaks for itself. Just like one of Jason Reitman’s previous movies, Thank You For Smoking. As you can notice, the man has a proclivity for using these unpopular professions to highlight the issues in our society. However, at the same time, this movie is also a character study. It focuses on the lives of professionals practically married and single-mindedly focused on their jobs. They choose to be these individuals earning hefty compensation in return.

Their sacrifice is materially substantiated while the rest of us have to think of something to get us out of bed every morning. Usually, it’s the basic drive to just survive. And, if you want to add people or commodities, well, that’s your choice. Perhaps that one single joint you’re going to light up when all the fuss is over and you have your couple of hours of free time before sleeping and returning to the mines in the morning. Moving on, the cast of Up in the Air did a terrific job, led by the charismatic George Clooney.

We also have Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, and Jason Bateman. Despite the quite gloomy main theme, the movie itself is surprisingly upbeat. The pacing is just right and the running time is short clocking in at just over ninety minutes. This makes it a perfect choice for one of those nights when you just want to watch a good movie. A movie that’s going to keep your attention and that might even offer some insights into your own life.

Meet Ryan Bingham, a man with a rather strange job. He flies around the country firing people on behalf of corporations who don’t want to deal with that aspect of their business. He’s professional, punctual, and really good at his job. However, his personal life is almost non-existent and he has trouble connecting with people. All he has is his job. And now he has to train a young protege by the name of Natalie Keener who might even end up firing him. Or at least that’s what he suspects…

As its title suggests, Up in the Air is also a movie about flying and everything that comes along with it. This makes it more relatable and since our homeboy is not your average flyer you will see how the elite traveler does it while still flying using commercial airlines. It’s not like he has a private jet or something. So this, oddly enough, places him in the same category as the rest of us working schmoes.

If you’re looking for movies like Up in the Air do check out The Man Who Stare At Goats. It also stars George Clooney and has the same vibrant atmosphere. Plus it’s based on a wild true story about the military experimenting with paranormal phenomena.

Director: Jason Reitman

Writers: Walter Kirn, Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner

Cast: George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, Jason Bateman, Amy Morton

Fun Stuff: Many of the people you see in the movie are not professional actors. Producers enlisted the help of people who have been fired recently to get a more genuine vibe.


IMDb Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1193138/

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