Up in the Air
Director: Jason Reitman
Cast: George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick
Viewed in theaters: 1/12/10
Best Director - Jason Reitman
Best Actor - George Clooney
Best Supporting Actress - Vera Farmiga
Best Supporting Actress - Anna Kendrick
Best Adapted Screenplay - Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner
Up in the Air follows Ryan Bingham (Clooney), a businessman who travels around the country terminating employees from their companies and giving speeches at conferences. He lives out of a suitcase and has all the tricks and the trades of air traveling down to a science. He lives an isolated existence, but it's the only way he knows how to live and enjoys his lifestyle. However, his career is turned upside down when his boss hires a fresh ivy league college grad, Natalie (played by Kendrick who was also in the Twilight movies, but I don't remember her since she plays a human, so therefore, she's non-important in those movies), who devises a plan to fire people over the Internet, and therefore, no more air travel is necessary.
This scares Bingham and he is not convinced this new plan will work and that Natalie needs "real" experience with terminating people. His boss agrees and sends her with him on one of his firing excursions.
The movie uses real people who were fired from their jobs; if I remember correctly, Reitman placed an ad in a few national papers saying he needed people who had been recently laid off for a documentary. I thought that was a nice touch and added realness to the film. It was actually quite heartbreaking seeing those people get fired. I've never been terminated from a company I've been at for years, but I do know what it's like to be without a job and it sucks! I've been down that road, people! And if I were ever in that situation and had a Natalie telling me the news, I'd probably lean across the table and slap her!
There was one woman they fired who calmly stated that she had plans for the future; she was going to jump off the bridge near her house. This is when Natalie starts to see the personal side of the terminations and stops treating the people like electronic objects she's just turning off. She asks Bingham if they should be concerned about her and he replies that's a common threat they get all the time, which I'm sure is true, but I had a feeling we would be hearing about her again. She was way too calm when she said it; like she knew exactly what she had to do. If she had said the same thing, but had been hysterical, it would have just been for attention.
Bingham starts an affair with Alex (Farmiga), a woman he meets, who also travels a lot for a living. Even though their relationship is casual at first, he starts to develop feelings for her and invites her to his sister's wedding. Halfway through the movie I figured out what he discovered about her in Chicago. I mean, it wasn't that hard.
The movie was shot in several different cities, including, wait for it...Omaha, which is where yours truly resides! It was kinda exciting seeing some of the familiar (well, to me) landmarks. I had to laugh though when they got a shot of Omaha Steaks behind Clooney. Can you believe I've never had an Omaha steak before? Well, maybe I've had; I don't know, but that gave me a little chuckle. The Omaha scenes were actually longer than I was expecting, so that was pretty exciting. I will tell you, it was a pretty exciting day in Omaha when Clooney was here. We don't get much excitement in Omaha. Now I can say I've been to an airport that was featured in an Oscar-nominated (hell, maybe even winning) movie. (We all know it's going to be nominated for an Oscar!)
I liked Up in the Air, but I left the theater feeling quite depressed.