Up in the Air (2009)

Up in the Air (2009) — Like many Americans I lost my job last year.  So did my dad.  So did everyone I worked with, as a matter of fact.  So the downsizing prick that is the protagonist of this film should be subject to my immediate revulsion.  Yet as he did for a fast-talking tobacco lobbyist and a preggers hipster teen, Jason Reitman has made me feel kinship with someone I otherwise shouldn’t.  As much as I love Ghostbusters, I think Jason has surpassed his pops as a film-maker.  George Clooney’s character Ryan Bingham ended up with my sympathy and in the end my pity.  Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick are also great in this movie but for me the scene stealers are the interview subjects who are edited into the film.  They are people who were really fired asked to repeat either what they said or what they wished they said to the ax men who let them go.  Zach Galifianakis and J.K. Simmons also play downsized employees who interact more directly with Clooney and Kendrick’s characters.  The film is about attachment and whether or not that’s a good thing.  Clooney’s character represents the cynical view and Kendrick’s a more naive perspective.  They both move more toward the middle ground over the course of the film, which is presumably the position of the film-makers.  I liked the ending which, to give a vague indication is much as the title would indicate: up in the air.

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