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Up in the Air (2009)

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Ryan Bingham enjoys living out of a suitcase for his job, travelling around the country firing people, but finds that lifestyle threatened by the presence of a potential love interest, and a new hire.

Director:

Jason Reitman

Writers:

Walter Kirn (novel), Jason Reitman (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
1,553 ( 200)
Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 76 wins & 158 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
George Clooney ... Ryan Bingham
Vera Farmiga ... Alex Goran
Anna Kendrick ... Natalie Keener
Jason Bateman ... Craig Gregory
Amy Morton ... Kara Bingham
Melanie Lynskey ... Julie Bingham
J.K. Simmons ... Bob
Sam Elliott ... Maynard Finch
Danny McBride ... Jim Miller
Zach Galifianakis ... Steve
Chris Lowell ... Kevin
Steve Eastin ... Samuels
Marvin Young ... Young MC
Cut Chemist Cut Chemist ... Conference DJ
Adrienne Lamping Adrienne Lamping ... Tammy
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Storyline

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-traveller woman of his dreams.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Arriving this December See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 December 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Up in the Air See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,181,450, 6 December 2009, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$83,823,381

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$166,842,739
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Screenwriters Sheldon Turner and Jason Reitman won all the major Oscar precursor awards, including the Golden Globe, BAFTA, Critics Choice and WGA awards. However they did not receive the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. As of 2018, this is only example of such an anomaly to ever occur in a writing category. The award went to Geoffrey Fletcher for Precious (2009) instead. As a result, Fletcher became the first African American to win a Best Screenplay Oscar (Original or Adapted). See more »

Goofs

At airport security, Ryan puts his laptop in a tray. He proceeds to take off his shoes and put them in a tray, but his shoes are already in the tray next to the laptop bin. See more »

Quotes

Ryan Bingham: [sitting across the aisle from each other on a plane] Natalie, what is it you think we do here?
Natalie Keener: We prepare the newly unemployed for the emotional and physical hurdles of job hunting, while minimizing legal blow-back.
Ryan Bingham: That's what we're selling. It's not what we're doing.
Natalie Keener: Okay, what are we doing?
Ryan Bingham: We are here to make limbo tolerable, to ferry wounded souls across the river of dread until the point were hope is dimly visible. And then stop the boat, shove them in the water and make them swim.
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Crazy Credits

Over the end credits, the camera glides over the clouds. Much like the view from a plane. See more »


Soundtracks

Help Yourself
Written by 'Sad Brad Smith' (as Bradley Grant Smith)
Performed by 'Sad Brad Smith'
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Bring your own wine

I really liked the movie, it kind of invites you to bring your own wine. There's a lot of probing into modern life and relationships, and it's up to you what you take from the film and what you feel for each of the characters. I was quite grateful for having seen Reitman's Thank You For Smoking (2005) previously, because both movies are really arch in the way they set up people in thoroughly pariah job roles and then get you to warm to them. So it didn't really come as a shock to see Clooney as an HR consultant (Ryan Bingham) whose job is to fire people in redundancy exercises where the management are too yeller, instead it rated an amused and knowing eyebrow raise.

Although a lot of the movie concerns the workplace, the disconnect between the interests of corporates and the interests of society (a link that was present historically in America, but which has been irrevocably decoupled), and how to work in that environment, the interest for me was more to do with relationships. From my male perspective there are some fairly poisonous insights into the female mind (though it may be unfair to generalise), the young Cornell grad Natalie Keener (played by Anna Kendrick) talks about her preconceptions of the man she will meet, the kind of name he will have, apparently the only thing he will love more than her is their "golden lab". The slightly older perspective from Alex Goran (played by Vera Farmiga) is that the man should be taller, should earn more, and come from a good family. To go with the aeronautical theme of the movie, the theatre should have provided some sick bags.

The main theme is, for me, pure Frank Borzage, it's about earning the right to love and be loved. In common with 80 years ago when those movies were being made, it's an onus that only weighs upon the male of the species, which makes the film a little hackneyed.

My favourite ambiguity of the film would have to be the backpack lectures that Bingham (Clooney) gives. He has a whole metaphor about everything in your life, the people, the trinkets, all the stuff you can collect, being in a backpack and weighing you down. He says that people aren't swans, they're not meant to be together forever, that they're actually sharks, who have to keep swimming continually, weighed down by nothing. I think there's an element of truth to both poles, I can see both arguments. I just love going to a Hollywood movie and not having an opinion shoved down my throat.

I had a slight problem regarding the level of realism in the film, I felt that the air-commuter lifestyle that was being shown was over-slicked, like I was watching something of a feather with The Consequences Of Love (or Giulia Doesn't Sleep At Night, two of the great modern hyper-stylised films from Italy). Nothing wrong with stylisation, except that I think Jason was trying to go for a film that had a lot of resonance with Recession America. I felt it was awkward to introduce real-life folks at the end, and also realistic looking termination assessments (or whatever they're called when you can someone), when the actors such as Clooney and Vera Farmiga were just so damned suave, as if from a different universe.

And this is to Claire.


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