Up in the Air (2009) – Film Review

Up in the Air

Starring George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, and Jason Bateman

Directed by Jason Reitman, based on the novel by Walter Kim

IMDB Rating: 7.5

Review written by Rachel Geiger [Become a contributor!]

One of Clooney’s best roles to date, this is a simple but enjoyable film. It also features some of the more popular actors out there. This is the type of film that has scenes that make you laugh, then the next scene makes you want to cry. It has a great balance of different emotions and I seriously enjoyed it.

Ryan Bingham (Clooney) is a corporate downsizer who makes his living on traveling to companies. While at these different companies, he fires employees on behalf of the companies that don’t are unwilling to do the job themselves. Ryan’s goal is becoming only the seventh person to reach ten million frequent flyer miles. On one of the flights, he meets another traveler named Alex (Farmiga) who begins a casual relationship with. He meets a new hire at the company he works for named Natalie (Kendrick) and his boss (Bateman) makes him take her with him on his next business trip. Throughout the film, we learn more about his isolated life as he meets new faces along the way.

I felt like the film was really well written. Ryan had several motivational speeches throughout the film that required decent writing. Yes, it required a lot of cliché sayings, but it still translated well. As the audience, we understood the intent and that is important. The plot was a little boring at times, but what can you expect from a film that is partly about traveling? That just doesn’t sound like a fun time, especially when there’s no huge tie in that happens while the main character is on the plane. Anyway, there were some moments that I did laugh out loud, although this isn’t really a comedy. I particularly enjoyed the emotional scenes in the film, it felt extremely real to me.

This was one of my favorite George Clooney roles, besides The Descendants and a few other of his movies. Anyway, he actually became the character, which for me is the mark of any great acting performance. Vera Farmiga was nothing special to me here, although she did earn an Oscar nomination for her work. I just didn’t feel like they went deep enough with her character. It didn’t feel like a memorable performance as a whole. Anna Kendrick was one of my favorites out of all the actors. At the time of the release date, Kendrick was easily the one that no one really knew much about. She really took the world by storm when she also received an Oscar nomination. I felt like she brought charm, quirkiness, and humor to the role of Natalie, the over-eager young employee. This was the first role that I saw her in and it completely stuck with me.

Jason Reitman directed one of my all time favorite movies Juno. While I loved his directing in that one, I felt like he was even more comfortable as a director with this film. We also got to see more settings in Up in the Air, where Juno just captures the same town where Juno lives. However, it wasn’t anything all that impressive, but it was still a solid job done by Reitman.

As a whole, this film isn’t all that memorable. However, there are several quality performances by some of the best actors out there. I felt like the writing was very well done. I also loved the overall message of this film. It’s one that isn’t going to be considered one of my favorite movies of all time, but still one that I thoroughly enjoyed watching.

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