Up in the Air (2009) Review

Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) is a man who lives out his carry on suitcase while travelling around America firing people as his job. He is hired by company’s who are too scared to fire their own employees. He is all about collecting miles and gets a thrill from this, but when his company decide to ground him can he save the job he lives for with the travelling or will it make him change?

Two women come into his life,  business woman Alex (Vera Farmiga) who has a similar outlook as Ryan for Elite status and travelling around the country a lot. The other Natalie (Anna Kendrick) who is a twenty-something year old who wants to change around the world Ryan lives in leaving him grounded and working at a computer screen. In trying to save his high-flying life style of living airport to hotel to airport to hotel etc he must take Alex into the field with him and give her an understanding of how the firing really works.

Alex has a big impact on his life, they compare schedules to see when they will be in the same places and arrange to meet. Not only that Ryan even takes her as a date to his sister’s wedding, this makes it look like his life is starting to change and he would be willing to reconsider some of his choices.

I am actually quite fond of travelling especially flying and being in an airport, which might sound a bit strange but I like the possible reasons why people are flying. For the most part of air travel I have been alone which I prefer to travelling with someone, mainly because you can just relax take your time and zone out really. Ryan was also used to travelling alone, I just wish I could have the lounge and first class hospitality when I fly but it was amusing to see how he reacted to having Natalie with him for a couple of weeks. I just loved how he made her buy a new suitcase and started throwing certain items in the bin as she did not need them.

For me one of the saddest scenes in the film was when he went home for his sister’s wedding, and his other sister told him that he did not really exist to them. I found that extremely sad because even if they don’t seem him often or even talk to him saying he did not exist was very cutting. Yes, he probably did not help himself out by not calling his sisters more often and getting more involved but he chose to have a different type of life style.

Everyone at some point will want to totally switch off from everyone around them and just be alone, but could you do that all the time and really push people out. If you do it for long enough will you eventually just be alone and no longer have anyone there for you? I think thats another talking point and question which is raised in this film.

I have to admit that after Natalie has her slight breakdown when her boyfriend breaks up with her, I could hear myself in some of the things she was talking about. I am a similar age to her, I could understand her naive ways towards relationships and also having targets which you would really like to reach by a certain age. It was actually quite strange watching that part as spoke to me so much.

I cannot actually think of a worse job than having to fire people for a living, you really must have to get immune to peoples reactions and teach yourself not to care about them. Which must be such a difficult task to accomplish. This is demonstrated in the way Natalie struggles with how to react when people say different things upon hearing that they are being fired.

Performance wise George Clooney really was outstanding and this was totally his film, he made you feel a range of emotions towards the character and kept you thinking throughout. I have always been a fan of his and yes I do fancy him, but in recent years his films have really shown that he is much more than “just a pretty face” he is a brilliant actor to go along with it all. He shows that brilliantly in this film, with very serious moments and intense feelings.

Throughout the film you debate with yourself whether you feel sorry for Ryan and try to imagine living his life with everything in a suitcase hotel to hotel. I am undecided whether I feel sorry for him or would love to have his life style, I think I kept changing my mind as the film went on.

I did not see a twist coming near the end, and I will not spoil and reveal what it is. But curious if anyone else spotted this coming? I must have been way to enthralled and hoping for the nice happy ending out come or something?

It really is just a brilliant film with a fantastic performance from George Clooney, the support from Vera Famiga and Anna Kendrick is not bad but they are just over shadowed from the brilliance of George. I hope this film receives an Oscar nomination along with George.

Would you like to live your life up in the air?

11 thoughts on “Up in the Air (2009) Review

  1. I saw the twist coming, but when it does I had to question certain scenes that happened eariler in the film.

    This movie will be on my top 10 list of the year. I don’t think it’s a masterpiece, but it’s very good film by Jason Reitman.


  2. I love travelling and movies, you’re totally my soul mate.
    but up in the iar comes out in feb 25 in hong kong, I’ll have to wait.


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