A man who travels the country firing people professionally finds his comfortable lifestyle threatened by a new flame and a young protege.
Up in the Air (2009)
Directed by Jason Reitman
Written by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner
Starring George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick,
Jason Bateman, Amy Morton, Melanie Lynskey, J.K. Simmons,
Sam Elliott, Danny McBride, Zach Galifianakis
Based on the novel by Walter Kirn
Oscar Nominations - Best Picture, Best Actor (George Clooney), Best Supporting Actress (Vera Farmiga), Best Supporting Actress (Anna Kendrick), Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay
Up in the Air is a witty, engaging dramedy featuring three flawless performances from George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, and Anna Kendrick. Jason Reitman has proven to be one of the most reliable and skilled talents on the indie film scene, and Up in the Air is one of his best films. You can feel the palpable confliction in Ryan Bingham (Clooney) from beginning to end. You like him because he's taken control of his own life, but he's done so at the expense of a personal life or any real human connection. He's the loneliest man on earth and he pretends to enjoy it. At the very least, he's a fascinating protagonist and Clooney plays him to perfection in one of his best performances.
Ryan Bingham has an interesting job. He travels the country and fires people professionally so their bosses don't have to. Ryan lacks a personal connection to these people, so he's the perfect candidate. He lives out of his suitcase, wracking up hundreds of thousands of frequent flier miles. But when he starts to fall for the fun, easy-loving Alex (Farmiga) and learns that new hire Natalie (Kendrick) is going to cause his comfy life to be uprooted, Ryan must take stock of what's truly important to him and reevaluate his entire life. It's hilarious and shockingly emotional at times, particularly at the end. I found myself yelling at the screen, a definite sign of a great movie.
If you've ever been fired or know someone who has, I think you could benefit from watching Up in the Air. Some of the characters being fired in the montages are real people who had recently been let go from their jobs. The passion and anger is real, and you can tell. But more than that, you get to see how empty the lives of the firers are. The movie tricks you into thinking you'll get a conventional happy ending, and then pulls the rug out from under you in the worst way. It's simply a brilliant watch.