“Up in the Air” One for the Time Capsule

Genres: Comedy, Drama and Adaptation
Running Time: 1 hr. 49 min.
Release Date: December 4th, 2009 (limited); December 11th (expansion); December 25th (wide)
MPAA Rating: R for language and some sexual content.
Distributors: Paramount Pictures


Directed by: Jason Reitman

JJ Rating: A-

Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) fires people for bosses that just can’t. But he doesn’t just do it with out a care. He does it with finesse. He tires to let them go with dignity and the renewed hope of finding something that better suits them than the job they settled on many years ago. Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick) had a plan to make things more streamline for the company: let people go via the computer, that way it cuts down on travel cost. Bingham not happy with this, therefore Kenner was sent with him to see how it worked in person. Up in the Air.

This year has seen jobs lost left, right, up, down, forwards and backwards. If you have never been let go before consider yourself fortunate to have never felt unwanted for your hard work and don’t go out of your way to see this film. If you have been let go, maybe even this year, seeing this film might strike a heart string just right and maybe, just maybe, spark something inside of you.

They have several scenes where people are talking to the camera about losing their job and how they feel about that. I had a gut instinct that said these people really lost their jobs. According to IMDB trivia that is a fact. Those people were pulled because they had recently lost their job. I watched those people speak and my heart sank with every plea, with every angry word, with every tear and with every frustrated gesture. It was hard to watch.

Apparently, also according to the trivia, Jason Reitman waited to make this film but first did Juno and Thank You for Smoking. It worked out because it being released this year will get it more attention than any other year. It’s more personal and people will understand it.

George Clooney was very good. Normally characters grow exponentially throughout the film. He, like Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada, grew just enough to show a few subtle changes at the end. There is a reserved nature in acting this way. Instead of showing a huge change they have to act different than the beginning, but only show a little bitty difference. Clooney did that very well. I think the Golden Globe is between him and Tobey Maguire. Alex Goran is the love interest and she is played by the beautiful, playful, magical Vera Farmiga. She is an important character who teases Clooney every chance she gets with a life he’s not so sure he ever wanted. Farmiga is stunning because she is a polarizing character that is every bit good as she is bad. Kendrick has a strong presence but played it with reserve and a bit of fragile. She was a great counter weight to Clooney’s character.

I believe Up in the Air was well timed. It allowed the story to breath and reveals it self at a reasonable pace. I did not like the elongated beginning with the credits and whatever song was playing in the background. I want the movie to start soon and not shove credits down my throat, unless it has a clever beginning with the credits like Death at a Funeral (original British funny one).

I enjoy stories about characters that are not really good and not really bad. They have this anti-hero like personality. They wrestle with different things that they don’t like throughout the story. They justify their abnormal behavior (that is normally bad) so that it makes sense in an emotional void like way. You want them to change but you don’t want them to turn into some sort of goody-goody because that would be unrealistic. With Bingham he realized that what he was doing wasn’t what he wanted as much as it was a protection against what he didn’t want. I really enjoyed the slow nature of that reveal. It was whisked in such a fashion that I slowly saw how he changed even though he didn’t drastically alter who he was.

Up in the Air has a crass outer coating upon looking at the trailer, but once I viewed the entire film there was an underline heart (that Reitman has with all of his movies) that beats with great presence and tender endurance. It was far more an emotional journey than I had anticipated. I believe it to be a very good film and one that will remain a good film for its historical benefit and timely release. If there was a time capsule that we (with elementary like tenacity) were to put together to help historians in years to come, this film would best represent 2009. And with that admonition I think it has enough going for it to be Best Picture for the Golden Globes. But with the Oscars and I’m holding out that Star Trek will be nominated. I can hope, can’t I?

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