That feeling of limbo is one of the worst feelings there are, but we can all relate. That’s why Up In The Air is deserving of one of the best of 2009.
Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) is a hired hitman. That is to say he’s hired by companies to fire people. He takes pride in his work that racks up frequent flier miles like nobody’s business, but also keeps him disconnected from any real emotional attachments, including his family.
What’s best about this movie is the feeling of authenticity, real human emotion, is captured in a way that hits home. The fired are told there is nothing personal about their position being eliminated, but what is more personal than the work you do? This is a film for these days of downsizing, which is why anyone who watches it will feel connected.
Alex happens upon Alex (Vera Farmiga) in a airport bar of all places. She’s a sexually charged and dark female foil who’s impressed by his elite flying status and seems to be his perfect match. After making a connection with her, he starts to question whether its time for him to stop flying away.
At work, the young up-and-comer Natalie (Anna Kendrick) has devised a plan to save the company money, by firing via a video web conference. She’s new to the game, so Ryan has to show her the ropes first. She quickly finds the harsh reality of their business and the toll it takes.
It’s a harsh and seemingly cruel business convincing a person that their job loss is a “transition” instead of a painful ripping out of your heart can do that. At least business is good.
Director Jason Reitman, who also brought a similarly realistic feel from “Juno,” knows how to tap human emotion. He’s the son of one of the greats; Ivan Reitman (Animal House, Stripes, Ghostbusters) and it’s: like father, like son.