Up in the Air

"Excellent"

Up in the Air Review


Smart and funny, this breezy and bittersweet drama carries dark resonance for a society caught in the middle of both recession and downsizing. And Clooney couldn't be more perfectly cast in this role.

Ryan Bingham (Clooney) sacks people for a living. As he flies around America trying to soften the blow, he connects with a sexy businesswoman (Farmiga) and starts a side job leading motivational sessions about minimising the baggage in your life. He also builds up a whopping frequent flier account. So when his boss (Bateman) hires efficiency expert Natalie (Kendrick) to streamline the downsizing business, he feels the rug being pulled out from beneath him.

The film opens with inventive sequences showing peoples' reactions to losing their jobs and Ryan's economical system for navigating an airport. We immediately understand that he has no interest in settling down; indeed when we see his Omaha apartment, it's even less homey than the hotel rooms. Ryan lives an envious free life, unencumbered by people or things, so of course we know he's about to learn an important life lesson.

Fortunately, Reitman and Turner's script takes an intelligent approach, using sharp jabs of humour and some vivid characters. A story strand involving Ryan's sisters gives the film some direction, as the older Kara (Morton) coordinates the wedding of the younger Julie (Lynskey), unambiguously showing that Ryan has removed himself from their lives. And it's Natalie who provides the catalyst that forces Ryan to look at himself.

Reitman wisely focuses on characters rather than plot, refusing to indulge in sentimentality until it's earned. This gives Clooney one of his best roles: charming, clever and funny are the things he does best, and he develops snappy and unpredictable rapport with both Farmiga and Kendrick. These two actresses make their strong female characters unforgettable by continually upending the stereotypes.

So even if the film takes a couple of corny turns as it takes us on a lively tour of America's cities, the characters and themes are thoroughly involving.

And also wonderfully entertaining. We can't help but identify with people who are worrying about their futures--both those who are suddenly unemployed and the central characters who are just realising that their lives could use a change.



Up in the Air

Facts and Figures

Run time: 109 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 23rd December 2009

Box Office USA: $83.8M

Box Office Worldwide: $163.7M

Budget: $25M

Distributed by: Paramount Pictures

Production compaines: Paramount Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Fresh: 240 Rotten: 25

IMDB: 7.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Jeffrey Clifford, Daniel Dubiecki, ,

Starring: as Ryan Bingham, as Alex, as Natalie, as Craig Gregory, as Julie Bingham, as Maynard Finch, as Kara Bingham, J.K. Simmons as Bob, as Jim Miller, as Steve, as Samuels, Adrienne Lamping as Tammy, as Karen Barnes, as Kevin

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.