Director: Jason Reitman
Screenplay: Jason Reitman, drug Sheldon Turner
Release Date: December 25, condom 2009
Actors: George Clooney, cure Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, Jason Bateman
Based on the novel of the same name by Walter Kirn
We all know it’s Oscar season when dramas start to flood the theatres. Up in the Air is the start of what I’m sure will be a string of great movies, with interesting storylines and terrific acting.
Up in the Air is a comedy-drama, though at the heart of it is a touching drama into the life of frequent flyer Ryan Bingham. Calling him a frequent flyer would be an understatement, as Bingham, who works for a company that is hired out by other companies to do their layoffs, is up in the air majority of the year.
Ryan Bingham calls the air his home, where he is most comfortable. He has no attachments to his home in Omaha, and it is highlighted by his motivational speeches about leaving one’s burdens behind and needing nothing but your shirt.
On one of his nights before staying at a hotel, he meets Alex Goran (Vera Farmiga, The Departed), a sexy, almost equal counterpart to himself. They compare the number of traveler cards they own and Bingham is instantly entranced.
At the same time, Bingham finds himself in a challenging position in which the new worker at his company brings the idea of laying off people via video (as opposed to in person) to his boss. Young, sprite, proper Natalie Keener is the pain in Bingham’s behind, as the possibility of no longer requiring to being in the air does not please him.
George Clooney, Anna Kendrick and Vera Farmiga are amazing in their roles. Anna Kendrick, best known for her role as Jessica in Twilight, in my opinion, really stole the spotlight. It was easy to dislike Natalie Keener at first, but she became more and more lovable as it became clear how neurotic she seemed to be. George Clooney and Anna Kendrick had great chemistry as mentor and student, and Vera Farmiga looked absolutely fabulous in her relationship with George Clooney. (But when does she ever look anything but fantastic?)
Ryan Bingham is a fascinating character, at odds with the rest of the world in his ideas of what works for him. Without spoiling anything, it’s interesting to see him change and the journey he takes to get there. The ending however, left me with a few questions, some contemplative ones about Ryan Bingham’s life and some that made me wonder how his new found perspective might have affected his life and what he does with it in the future.
The story is well written, as one might expect given that it is from a novel. It is full of wit, laughter and contemplation. The characters are quirky but likable. It’s hard to pinpoint what makes this movie so good and so enjoyable, but it seems to be a combination of several things. The acting is terrific and the story is interesting. It forces one to also evaluate the suggestions the story brings – is it better to have no burdens, or to have a family and kids.. to have connections with people, or is a person more happy to not be tied with anyone and to be always on the move?
It is a slow film, though I think most people will enjoy it. There is a lot of Oscar buzz for this movie, and I do think it is deserving. Surprisingly, at least to me, it’s not as depressing as one might expect for a possibly nominated Oscar movie, nor as violent. It’s rare that comedies are ever nominated, but this one is done smartly, and is guaranteed to garner a few laughs.
Anna Kendrick really impressed me in her role as Natalie, and if there is no other reason to see this film, it is to see Anna Kendrick. (And I guarantee you, that anyone who knows me, knows that I am NOT a Twilight fan.)
So.. go see this gem of a film and let me know what you think. Out of the movies that came out last week however, Invictus would be my choice. Mainly because I love inspiring films, and though I love comedies, I find inspiring films tickle my bone more. Both are excellent films though, and you would not go wrong to seeing either.
Highly recommended. 4 flights / 5 flights