Writers: Walter Kirn (Novel), Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner (Screenplay)
Stars: George Clooney, Anna Kendrick, Vera Farmiga, Jason Bateman, Melanie Lynskey, Danny McBride, Zach Galifianakis
Up in the Air is an intelligent and pretty funny dramedy. I found it really entertaining for the most part, but that's mostly to do with Anna Kendrick's electric performance. At times I found myself underwhelmed by the story, especially when Kendrick took a lengthy absence. Everyone gave brilliant performances and I found myself loving the dialogue. It's a solid film, but I'll never really get why people call this a masterpiece. I'll have to watch it again, but my final thought was "Meh."
Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) makes a living from firing people. Companies hire him to fly over to their location, where he 'humanely' lets them go. He isolates himself from people, avoiding any kind of emotional connection through constantly flying to locations. A zippy young go-getter, Natalie (Anna Kendrick), changes the 'firing' system to having them sack people over a computer, rather than in person. As you can imagine, this really pisses Ryan off. Long story short, their boss forces Ryan to show Natalie the ropes of their profession, which leads them on a journey that revolutionizes their outlook on the world.
For me, Anna Kendrick was the life and soul of the film. Without her, I'd have gotten minimal enjoyment from this movie. She represents my generation, which are the Twitterer's, Facebooker's, money-addicted ambitious go-getter's. Like most young people, she believes that love and companionship is the most important thing in the world. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it gave her a romantic look at life, deluding her from how cruel life can be. Kendrick pretty much played the only REAL human being in this movie, one that most people can relate to and connect with. She smashed the role with a performance worthy of an Oscar. I said it before and I'll say it again, this girl has the potential to be a Hollywood legend.
|Anna Kendrick in her Oscar nominated role.|
Meanwhile, George Clooney played the same character that he plays in the Nespresso commercials. That is: confident, sexy, and unrealistic. I say unrealistic because his character honestly believes that you don't need to be connected to anyone to truly be happy. While this is the way his character is written, I never fully understood his reasoning behind being a hermit. Maybe if there was a personal background which explained his love for solitude, I would have liked his character more. It left him open for life-lessons which would ultimately lead to a different outlook, which I suppose was the purpose of the film.
Here's what I don't really get. He meets this beautiful, sexy female version of himself named Alex (Vera Farmiga). They spend a bit of time together, but he never truly thinks of having a relationship with her. That is until he spends a bit of time with Natalie and visits his sister's wedding... suddenly his whole outlook on life has changed. I feel like the transition happened too quickly for him to just throw his life's philosophy away... Especially for Alex, who was a fun person to be with but otherwise nothing all that special. Others will argue that people's views can change that rapidly, but my point is that Up in the Air couldn't convince me of this.
At times there was real heart and emotion in the film, particularly when they fired people. Whenever Kendrick was on-screen, I was always interested and entertained. I guess the last third of the film really muddled it up for me. It was slow, it was predictable, and I never really cared for the relationship between Ryan and Alex. I don't deny that there's some really awesome life-lessons in this movie, and the dialogue is pretty deep. As a whole, Up in the Air just didn't really do it for me.