Empty your backpack, it’s time to catch a flight
“If you think about it, your favorite memories, the most important moments in your life . . . were you alone? Life’s better with company.”
Once again, I’m late boarding this flight (Sorry. Airplane puns are inevitable). I know most of you have probably already seen this remarkable movie (I just saw it the other day), but I figured since it’s playing on your local Home Box Office (HBO) channel, the one’s who haven’t seen it will now have a reason to watch. It is a must watch movie.
There’s nothing I love more than an unformulated, exceptional, and downright enjoyable movie. That’s a rare commodity these days. It seems everywhere I look there are only remakes, sequels, duplicates, and unimaginative scripts wandering through my local cinema.
That’s why I just have to tell you about Up in the Air. I believe it’s my job to tell you about these movies that are sometimes never seen masterpieces. Of course, this one has been seen, a lot. It’s the exception, not the rule.
Up in the Air tells the story of one man. He hasn’t done anything rather important or exceptional in his life. He doesn’t have a home. He doesn’t have any friends that aren’t fellow coworkers, flight attendants, or hotel managers. But, he is happy. He’s Ryan Bingham (George Clooney). He does what others are afraid to do. He fires people for a living and he loves his job.
There is no need for meaningful relationships, children, or anything that can’t be packed in a small suitcase.
“All the things you probably hate about traveling – the recycled air, the artificial lighting, the digital juice dispensers, the cheap sushi – are warm reminders that I’m home.”
He epitomizes the stereotypical person sitting in first class with his briefcase and computer. You don’t know exactly what he does, but the smell of higher-up and travel roll off his business suit. You’ve seen this type of person before, but Clooney takes everything you think you know about him and molds him into someone you have sympathy for.
When Ryan is brought back from a life of airport bars and hotel rooms for a company meeting, things start to change. All of a sudden money can’t be spent like it used to. There needs to be a change. And Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick) has the solution: video chat. It might be not as personal as a face-to-face firing, but it get’s the job done and doesn’t cost a lot of money. This disrupts Ryan’s whole way of life, so he challenges Natalie to do what he does on a daily basis. He takes her on the road with him. Kendrick is bright contradiction to Clooney’s character and a scene stealer.
The other woman in Ryan’s life is Alex (Vera Farmiga). She’s almost exactly like he is. She travels on a regular basis, hates commitment, and needs to be a prefered member of every airline, hotel, and rental car company. It’s nothing more than a few scheduled meetings, until Ryan starts to feel something more.
In the end it’s all about what’s more important: the life you want or the relationships that make everything worth while. Written and directed by Jason Reitman, Up in the Air is a witty and dramatic character study. It’s a movie with heart. The characters are realistic and well-developed. And the exact flight plan is never known. You might think you’re going down one path, but Reitman might lead you to another.
I really loved this movie. There’s a feel to it, that is in ways realistic, relatable, and comforting. It’s hard to explain, exactly. But I think that the feel to the movie is related to the choice of music and cinematography. The rich and pale blue colors bring in warmth and comfort. While the music is a mix of folk and blues, perfect for this type of story. I really think you’ll enjoy it. It has George Clooney. How can you not like it?
Movie Rating: A
Have you seen Up in the Air? What do you think of the movie? If you haven’t seen it, will you? Tell me in the comments!