Up in the Air
Release Year: 2009
Director: Jason Reitman
Screenwriter: Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner, Walter Kirn (novel)
Starring: George Clooney, Anna Kendrick, Vera Farmiga, Jason Bateman, Melanie Lynskey, J.K. Simmons, Sam Elliott
Ratings: 6 Oscar nominations: Best Picture, Best Actor (George Clooney), Best Supporting Actress (Vera Farmiga), Best Supporting Actress (Anna Kendrick), Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay. 1 Golden Globe: Best Screenplay.
Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) works for a company that other companies can hire to fire their employees. He is on the road most of the time and he loves it. Enter two women that may turn his life upside down: Miss Keener (Anna Kendrick), who wants to revolutionise the way his company does business, and Alex (Vera Farmiga), who may or may not be the woman of his life.
First of all: that title sequence at the beginning of the movie – fantastic! Luckily for us the beautiful aerial shots follow us through the movie, introducing us to each new place that Ryan sets his feet down. And it is a lot of destinations. Ryan has a philosophy that he even holds motivational speeches about: possessions and people in your life are just weight on your shoulders. You’re much more comfortable when you are travelling light. Although his approach to life seems less than sympathetic, George Clooney (O Brother, Where Art thou?, 2000) manages to bring some good old-fashioned Hollywood charm to the character and sparks fly in his scenes with Vera Farmiga (The Conjuring, 2013). Miss Keener played by Anna Kendrick (50/50, 2011) lives up to her name as a keen newly educated know-it-all with lots of zeal. However, when Ryan takes her through to ropes to teach her more of his business, her emotional development is perfectly realised and played note-perfect. However, excellent the supporting cast is this remains Clooney’s film. Ryan’s emotional and personal arc on his journey through this story is heartbreaking and excellently brought to life. The movie is a bit slow-moving which may not be for everyone and its slightly un-conventional ending may not satisfy all, but admirers of Jason Reitman’s work will consider this one of his best.
The people being fired in the movie that do not have any dialogue with George Clooney and Anna Kendrick are not actors but real people who had recently been fired. The film crew posed as documentary film makers and asked them to pretend that the camera was the person who had fired them; they were then asked to say what they wished they could have said in the situation.
Picture copyright: UIP