Up In The Air
A film about the life choices we make and the relationships we leave behind
"Up In The Air" is one of the most mesmerizing films of the year. Starring George Clooney (Ryan Bingham), as he plays an essential "hired gun" that corporate executives hire to fire employees for them, during this recession period where lay offs are becoming more common within the United States. Living out of his briefcase, as he constantly distance himself from any kind of attachment. As life on the road, gives Ryan a sense of purpose and meaning in life as he doesn't have to deal with the petty problems and trivialities of commitment or relationships. Along the way, he meets Alex Goran (Vera Farmiga) whom shares his life style choice of traveling without concern for petty attachments, or at least he thinks. Content with his life until he meets a young energetic girl named Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick), whom suggest to the company about grounding their employees, to where they can fire people through visual phones versus traveling to meet in person to do it. Needless to say, this angers Ryan as his whole life revolves around living on the road. Convinced her methods are nothing but amateurish, his boss, Craig Gregory (Jason Bateman), decides Ryan should go out on the road to show her the ropes. Unwilling at first, but forced to anyway. As they travel across the country, Ryan soon learns just how empty his life really is. As his life style keeps him away from any serious attachments, even from his own family. "Up In the Air" is story about how relationships define who we are, and how often we tend to take them for granted each day. Like the people he's fired over the years, whom are unsure about their future after they took a chance to commit to something for so long. Ryan finds himself in a similar predicament when he takes a chance to commit to something as well. "Up In The Air" is truly one of the most innovative looks at our society as we head into this period of uncertainty.
George Clooney does a great job portraying the would be protagonist, whom thinks he has it all figured out about what he wants in life. However, he soon learns that his life is truly meaningless as his lifestyle has made him not only distance himself from his family, but it has kept him from making any long standing relationships. Like the people he's fired over the years, whom feel lost and confused after so many devout years taking a chance on a future with the companies they worked for. Ryan finds himself alone as he tries to rectify his life when he takes a chance to be with the only girl that ever understood his lifestyle, Alex. However, only to have his dreams shattered when he discovers that's not a possibility. Confused and alone as he wonders where to go with his life, after taking a chance to commit to someone for the first time in his life. Not too dissimilar to how many people during the recession era feel.
Like all of Jason Reitman's films, the protagonist rarely displays too much emotion as he chooses to show the character development through subtle tones. Most viewers will probably miss the subtle changes to Ryan's character, as Reitman prefers more of a lighter less obvious touch. However, for what the film is, it's definitely one of the deepest films of the decade.
The story line is written very well as each character has their own sense of purpose to move the movie along nicely. That the audience can't help but relate to their characters. The film touches on things like relationships that we tend to build throughout life, as they help define who we are individually. As even Ryan says during a press seminar, "Relationships are what define us, without them we are nothing." A strong message that plays true to any facet in life.
"Up In The Air" is definitely one of the most defining films of the decade. As the film not only talked about the importance of relationships, but it was also a story about life. How it feels to commit to something or someone; only to see it blow up in your face. Then where do you go from there? Do any of us truly know that answer? I think not as human beings we're never sure of anything, but the relationships we build in life are what define all of us. Truly one of the best films of the year.