Up in the Air (2009)

91% Rotten Tomatoes
7.5/10 IMDb

At first I was hesitant to see this movie, because the comedy-drama genre isn’t my favorite genre. But when I do find a good comedy-drama, it’s usually pretty great. Now, the reason why I’m not the biggest fan of dramedies is because they’re never balanced how I like my movies; most of the time they’re in the drama genre, with a “subgenre” of comedy. I prefer movies to lean more towards the comedy side to keep things lighthearted and enjoyable. Now let’s get into the actual review.

Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) has a job of firing people. That’s an odd job, isn’t it? Well, that’s what makes this movie great; its plot is unlike any other movie I’ve ever seen. Bingham is the man that bosses hire to fire their employees and help them cope with the sudden news (which is just a nice way of saying to make sure that the employees don’t go crazy and sue the company or go off on a killing spree). As Bingham’s job requires for him to travel across the country constantly, he’s turned into a type of hermit — his life is literally in a suitcase. But his single, hermit lifestyle is suddenly interrupted by  Alex Goran (Vera Farmiga) who is a fellow traveler; the two agree to have a no strings attached relationship, and the two continue on with their merry lives (…but this is a movie, of course that’s not all that happens). When Bingham returns back to the office for a meeting, his boss introduces him to Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick) and Keener shows her new, innovative way to fire people — firing through webcam. And Bingham, the traditional guy he is, is furious at the thought of not being able to fly across the country every single day, absolutely refuses the idea and takes on the task of teaching Keener what really goes on when firing people.

Up in the Air #2

Before I even begin to talk about how great the plot and message of the movie is, I need to express my love for the cast of this movie. George Clooney, Anna Kendrick, Vera Farmiga, Jason Bateman, Zach Galifianakis (although only in a brief scene), and Danny McBride. A movie with a cast like this surely wouldn’t have let me down, and it did not. George Clooney from Gravity and the Ocean’s series; Anna Kendrick from Pitch Perfect; Vera Farmiga from Bates Motel, The Conjuring, The Departed, and Orphan; Jason Bateman from Horrible Bosses, The Change-Up, and Arrested Developement. And these are just three of the actors from this movie; all actors with great performances in previous films. In my eyes, Vera Farmiga is now one of the most versatile actors/actresses. Vera’s creepy-factor in Bates Motel made me think that she could only fit the role of a semi-mentally unstable character, but now after seeing Up in the Air, I think that Vera Farmiga is a really great actress that can fit the role of any character.

I’ve come to love Up in the Air and its overall message that if you live a systematic life, eventually something will interrupt that quaint way of living. This is applicable everyone’s life, especially when relating to school or work; something is bound to go wrong and you’ll have to fix it. Another thing that I took away from this film is that you can’t really speak for another until you’ve experienced what they have experienced. When Bingham and Keener fired all of those employees, the reactions they received varies from sadness to extreme sadness (suicidal); which brings me to a great quote from To Kill a Mockingbird

You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.

And in the end there has to be someone who delivers the news to this people, which is where the term “don’t kill the messenger” greatly applies.

All in all, I’d recommend this movie to everyone; the comedy is really well-thought and “punny”, and the overall message of the film is delivered unlike any other movie I’ve seen.

 

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