Ryan Bingham is a corporate downsizing expert whose cherished life on the road is threatened just as he is on the cusp of reaching ten million frequent flyer miles and just after he's met the frequent-traveler woman of his dreams. Written by
Jason Reitman began writing the screenplay in 2002 when the economy was booming and planned to make it as his first feature. The opportunity to make Thank You for Smoking (2005) and Juno (2007) presented themselves and he put this off until this year, meanwhile America plummeted into an economic recession. He said the film's tone changed completely in response to the real world crisis and works much better now as a topical piece than it would have a decade ago, the delays in its realization being fortuitous. See more »
When Ryan gets to the airport with the cardboard cutout of his sister & fiancé, you can see their heads sticking out of the top of his suitcase. But when he goes through security, there is no cardboard cutout sticking out. See more »
[Natalie, on her first outing, walks into the Omaha Airport terminal dragging her slow-moving luggage; Ryan, irritated by this, looks at her in frustration]
[later at a store in the terminal, Ryan grabs a new, updated rolling luggage]
I really like my luggage.
That's exactly what it is, it's luggage. You know how much time you lose by checking in?
I don't know. Five, ten minutes?
35 minutes a flight. I travel 270 days a year. That's 157 hours. That makes seven days. You're ...
[...] See more »
Over the end credits, the camera glides over the clouds. Much like the view from a plane. See more »
Director Jason Reitman, that has brought us great Indie classics such as Thank You for Smoking and Juno has crafted his most personal and most effective portrait to date, Up in the Air. The film stars George Clooney, also giving his most intimate and beautiful performance of his career, as Ryan, a traveling "Firing-Man," who plans on racking up as much frequent flyer miles as he can. Completely void of human connection and emotion, even from his two sisters, one of which is getting married, Ryan seems completely content with his choice of living. All seems well until he meets his female version in the beautiful and charismatic Alex, played with sexual force and intensity by Vera Farmiga. At the same time, a change at his job makes him acquire a student, Natalie, played with sensitivity and vigor by Anna Kendrick, to learn the ropes of the business before potentially making a devastating change to Ryan's way of life.
The film, based on the book of the same title, is a moving and witty piece of cinema. The line deliveries given are some of the best liners of the year. The adaptation by Reitman and Sheldon Turner is of beautiful and social importance in today's day and age. There was no better time than now, to bring a film like this to the table. Dana E. Glauberman's crisp and precise editing sets the pace as we travel with Ryan in this beautiful account. Reitman's direction shows he's a force to be reckoned with and should be in full blown force for Oscar consideration along with the adaptation shared with Turner.
George Clooney, who's having one hell of a year along with his other comedic turn in The Men Who Stare at Goats, gains sympathy and emotion from the viewer, which up until now, Clooney had always struggled for. The role is right up Clooney's alley and with humorous strength, conveys the pain and loneliness of an otherwise charming man successfully.
Vera Farmiga as Alex, is a beautiful as she is dark, and as sexy as she is ugly. Farmiga has finally landed the right role that, in her years of wrong place at the wrong time, should land her a first-time Oscar nomination. Never showing her hand, Farmiga keeps and earns your trust, attention, and admiration. It's one of the most divisive and structurally brilliant supporting turns of the year.
Seemingly not playing with a full deck is Natalie, played most beautifully by Anna Kendrick, who portrays brains don't equal smart choices. Kendrick earns your care and concern for the character, as she follows Ryan around and constantly badgers him about happiness and love, she naïvely and courageously shows the tenderest parts of youth in today's world. Kendrick will likely be sitting along side Farmiga at Oscar's ceremony.
Jason Bateman, playing Craig Gregory, the boss in charge, is amusing in a brief but memorable role. Amy Morton and Melanie Lynsky, who play Ryan's sisters, are valuable and sufficient enough to book end a wonderful tale. Danny McBride, an outstanding comic talent to watch, is as good as ever. And finally, in otherwise cameos, Sam Elliott and the great Zack Galifianakis are uproarious in their respective roles.
This could very well be the crowd and critical pleaser of the year. It has what the 2004 film Sideways lacked, the emotional edge. Long after the film, you take these characters home with you and remind yourself of its authenticity in delivery, poise, and premise. Up in the Air is one of the best pictures of the year. ****/****
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