Bittersweet comedy


Movie: Up in the Air

Cast: George Clooney, Anna Kendrick, Vera Farmiga


“Up in the Air”, based on Walter Kirn’s novel of the same name, is one of those movies that make you leave the cinema hall with a smile on your face, but still leave you wishing for a better ending. Jason Reitman, one of the best filmmakers of our times, who gave us hits like “Thank You for Smoking”, and “Juno” doesn’t fail to impress with “Up in the Air” — a movie loaded with excellent screenplay, remarkable performances, witty dialogues, but still flawed. The story revolves around Ryan Bingham, whose job has him travelling around America firing people, and lives his life out of a suitcase, with no expectations of coming home sooner or having a family. Life takes a turn, when his company opts for firing people through the Internet, which defeats the purpose of travelling, and which Ryan believes, was the best part of his job.

Soars high and low

In the second half, Clooney shows us a side he’d so far not shown in the first half of the film — vulnerability. His search for a casual relationship with a woman with a mindset similar to his, ends in vain. But he plays the perfect workaholic, married to his job, afraid of commitment, and dreads meeting his family. Anna Kendrick does a remarkable job, playing a trainee, who is humane and compassionate, and an exact opposite of Ryan, who is cold and methodical. Vera Farmiga does well, playing Clooney’s love interest, who is beautiful and ugly at the same time.Jason Bateman doesn’t have much to do, but manages his part well. Overall, the movie’s worth a watch, but only once.Bottomline: This movie works only if you ignore the hype and go in with zero expectations. It’ll work anyway if you’re a hardcore Clooney fan.

DIVYA KARTHIKEYAN, XI, Vidyodaya Matriculation Academy


Imagine of walking into your office on a bright Monday morning and standing/sitting in front of you is a man in a Versace/Gucci/D&G suit just to tell you that your position in this organization is no longer available or fired to be precise. How would you feel when the same person is assuring you it’s not the end of the world? Wouldn’t you bash him up or at least imagine of doing something that would put his career in jeopardy. George Clooney does the same job for living in Jason Reitman’s “Up in the air”, a perfect follow up to “Juno”.


Ryan Bingham (Clooney) travels across countries and caters to various firms by firing their employees and assuring them of a new life. While majority wouldn’t even imagine doing such a job but, what keeps Ryan enjoy his work is his love for air travel. He loves strolling through the airport with his luggage and the environment which produces the urge in him to hit 10,000 miles of travel. He fantasizes his fellow air companion Alex (Vera Farmiga) by flaunting his bevy of membership cards.


Though he has an apartment in Omaha, his life is neatly packed in his suitcase, ready to scout any part of the country he’s been asked to go to. Just like any corporate scenario Ryan is faced with the challenge of new technology. Young Natalie walks into Ryan’s life and changes everything that would hinder his image at workplace. She creates a cost-effective model to fire employees than sending representatives across countries over 300 days a year. This idea sends Ryan a sense of doubt about his future in the company and his passion for travelling. Afraid of losing his life of airport nirvana, he takes Natalie under his wing. What follows is a perfect mash up of numerous minutes of adult dramatic entertainer.


George Clooney without even a percentage of doubt perfectly fits in the role of Ryan Bingham. After a point of time Clooney disappears and reincarnates as Bingham just to give the audience the ultimate feel of the role. He pulls this one off with a mixture of élan and charisma and never to forget his commitment towards the role. His performance is too subtle to be recognized as brilliant. Vera on the flipside is cute, sexy and showcased herself as a perfect pick for the role.


One may feel the movie exploits the scenes involving firing but, Reitman doesn’t allow that to happen and instead presents very emotional portraits of human beings. A line such as your position in this organization is no longer available paints a painful and oddly beautiful picture. One can’t deny the fact that the director made this film with a touch of a professional and confidence. The movie lives up to the expectation and undoubtedly deserves the nominations at the academy awards. Movies wouldn’t be the same if they are supremely entertaining as “Up in the air. I found it very inspiring and don’t know how much I can stress how wonderful a movie is this.

Haricharan Pudipeddi, MBA,Indian Business Academy, Banagalore

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One Response to “Bittersweet comedy”

  1. “Jason Reitman, one of the best filmmakers of our times.”
    This is only his third film. He’s a very good writer and a director, no doubt about that but jus cos he has 4 oscar nominations, it doesn’t make him the best filmmaker of out times.

    “Vera Farmiga does well, playing Clooney’s love interest, who is beautiful and ugly at the same time.”
    What do you mean ugly? Even before the relationship started they let each other know that this is nothing more than a causal fling. Ryan has no intention of settling down but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to have sex anymore. Alex and Ryan understood that neither of them is wanting any thing more than jus a casual company. That is what they had signed up for.. It so happened that Ryan started liking Alex a lot and realized that she jus might be the one when he was giving one of his “Empty backpack” lectures. This doesn’t make Alex a bad person, or ugly as you say. She had a family back in Chicago but for a road-warrior like her, she needed someone to talk with.

    “Overall, the movie’s worth a watch, but only once.”
    I’ve seen the movie thrice already. And it’s not jus me, all my pals think that this movie is among the 5 best movies this year.

    “This movie works only if you ignore the hype and go in with zero expectations.”
    The movie WORKS no matter what. I had colossal expectations and wasn’t disappointed one bit.

    And you forgot to mention J.K.Simmons. He was absolutely fantastic. The scene where Ryan convinces Danny McBride to get married was so honest. All the characters jus stick in your mind.
    You didn’t talk about the excellent soundtrack.
    The movie is flawless. There is not one loud scene yet it all seems so powerful. There is nothing wrong with the ending. If you are looking for a cliche filled movie, this is so not for you.

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