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Up in the Air movie poster

Up in the Air: Movie Review


Genre: Comedy, Drama
Rated: R
Directed by: Jason Reitman
Starring: George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Jason Bateman, Danny McBride, Anna Kendrick
Released by: Cold Spring Pictures

In Short: A superb cast, sharply written script, and top-notch direction make this tale of a constantly traveling man's lonely life one of the year's best films.

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SADNESS IN THE SKY
George Clooney Flies High “Up in the Air”

It’s easy to tell that it is December, for the flood of top-notch films spilling into theaters just in time for Academy Award consideration has begun. “Up in the Air” flies into the spotlight this week, and for good reason.

Written and directed by talented “Juno” helmer Jason Reitman, the movie is an adaptation of the novel by Walter Kirn. The comedy-drama follows the self-involved life of Ryan Bingham (George Clooney), a constantly traveling man whose job as a consultant is to help companies fire their employees. It’s a thankless career, but Ryan loves it, feeling more at home in a hotel or on an airplane than in his stark apartment.

George Clooney and Vera Farmiga in Up in the Air George Clooney in Up in the Air

That is, until his world begins to change, first with a random encounter with a fellow road warrior – played to perfection by Vera Farmiga – and then more profoundly when his company decides to pull him off the road after one last trip into the field. He’s joined on that journey to self-discovery by a young efficiency expert, whose eventual emotional crack-up is a turning point for both travelers. Anna Kendrick shines as the idealistic young thing, whose life outlook couldn’t be more at odds with her older mentor; and some of her scenes opposite Clooney are priceless moments on film.

As the story unfolds, the sadness of Ryan’s self-imposed solitary life is brought home in a series of sometimes funny, sometimes poignant moments, especially when he returns home for his sister’s wedding. But Reitman’s fine film never devolves into any maudlin moments or sappy, predictable Hollywood cornball. Instead, it is a picture that intelligently and cleverly reminds us about the things that are important in life, and what we stand to lose if we remove ourselves from experiencing real human emotion and interpersonal relationships.

Watch for this one to scoop up numerous nominations and accolades in the coming awards season; we predict that both the superb cast and the expert direction will be in the running for all the big prizes.

Reviewed by Jenny Peters



PAR112409
Updated: (02/10/10 AR)

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