Thursday, January 14, 2010

Up in the Air - Movie Review


Starring George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, Jason Bateman, Amy Morton, Danny McBride, Melanie Lynsky, JK Simmons and Sam Elliott.
Directed by Jason Reitman.

I loved this movie for the first 90 minutes or so. Probably up to the last minute. Then it switched to the "like" category. Why? Well, when I think about Jason Reitman's first movie Thank You for Smoking (that made my Top Ten that year) and his second movie Juno (that also made my Top Ten that year), I remember the final scene of each movie, and the final scene served as punctuation for the movie, with the characters in different distinct places than where they started, while still being true to themselves. This was one movie that would have benefitted from being a little more like that.

But not to take away how well-made this otherwise is. It is full of honest moments. George Clooney plays Ryan Bingham, a man who lives out of his suitcase, flying all over the country with the job of firing people. He's a man with enough empathy to know how to break news to people, but with no emotional ties to anyone to make him want to travel less. When his company looks into firing people via videoconferencing, Ryan is outraged. Since the idea was the brainchild of new-hire 23-year-old Natalie (New Moon's Anna Kendrick), Ryan takes Natalie to some cities to fire in person, to get her to understand why it's better face-to-face.

As someone who's been laid off, and as someone who sometimes travels for business, this movie spoke to me on a couple levels. I got lost in this movie, in a good way, even as it swam through other people's pain. There are so many notes Reitman hits just right.

But man, that last minute...

Ah well, I still liked it.

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