That feeling of limbo is one of the worst feelings there are, but we can all relate. Thatâ€™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 heâ€™s hired by companies to fire people. He takes pride in his work that racks up frequent flier miles like nobodyâ€™s business, but also keeps him disconnected from any real emotional attachments, including his family.
Whatâ€™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. Sheâ€™s a sexually charged and dark female foil whoâ€™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. Sheâ€™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.
Itâ€™s a harsh and seemingly cruel business convincing a person that their job loss is a â€śtransitionâ€ť 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 â€śJuno,â€ť knows how to tap human emotion. Heâ€™s the son of one of the greats; Ivan Reitman (Animal House, Stripes, Ghostbusters) and itâ€™s: like father, like son.