Up in the Air (2009)
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Director : Jason Reitman
Cast: George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, Jason Bateman
Up in the Air is the answer to one of the most important questions of every man’s (and woman’s) life- Family or Career? The film shows the pros and cons of each side and shows why ‘Life is better with company’. The movie is about today, it is about this generation that doesn’t believe in emotions and attachments and thinks its uncool to live with parents.
Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) works for a Human Consultancy firm which specializes in helping companies in firing their employees. In times of downsizing, the companies hire Bingham to reduce the mess and the drama. His business is great during the hard times, he profits from tragedies. He is the man of today, has no fixed place of living, constantly travels: he is like the cloud storage– he exists but nobody knows where. Of course he measures his back pack and lives by it and even lectures people to be free and detached. He wants to live on the run, stereotypes people to cut through the line in the airport and have no dependence on whomsoever . He loves his work, because it fits his character, he has a “target” number of Air miles to be hit and he has to be the youngest. All is going well, he is steadily moving towards his target until his life is intersected by two females.
Alex Goran (Vera Farmiga) is Ryan Bingham in female avatar, a wanderer who travels frequently for work. They have a casual sleepover which becomes a habit and then eventually becomes need. Vera Farmiga is beautiful and gives you a warm feeling and you immediately feel that they both complete each other and are the perfect couple. But both of them are unwilling to commit to the relationship and are happy to be the travel couple.
The other one is Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick) – the other side of Alex. She is an ambitious prodigy who wants to revolutionize the methods by adding technology to it and making it Glocal. She has taken the job with Bingam’s firm to be near her boyfriend. Ryan makes her his understudy and tries to teach her the art of firing people as her idea clashes head on with his target of hitting the air miles. As the movie progresses he teaches more than that, in fact he changes her completely.
And slowly and steadily the two women change his attitude towards his life- so much that the backpack starts to feel heavier. He starts to question his beliefs and falls in love with Alex. He reaches out to her but gets rebuffed as Alex calls him an “escape” from her real life and nothing more. When he finally achieves his target mid air, he doesn’t know anybody with whom he could celebrate. He realizes he is alone. Heartbroken he transfers all his miles to his newly wed sister and her husband so that they could travel the world for their honeymoon.
There is a clear Jason Riteman structure of story telling which was first seen in “Thank You for No Smoking” where the protagonist justifies the conduct by the companies but by the end of the movie has a complete change of heart. And the story telling is so compelling that you accept both the characters.
Up in the Air is a movie for all generations.
Life is better with company, everybody needs a copilot