Ryan (George Clooney) works for a company who fire people for other companies. He’s good at his job and he loves the life that comes with it – loads of travelling, no real responsibility for anybody, barely any contact. When his young colleague Natalie (Anna Kendrick) proposes a system to fire people via webcam, he takes her on the road to show her the reality of the job. Around the same time he meets the attractive business woman Alex (Vera Farmiga) and starts an affair with her. Slowly he begins to question his whole lifestyle.
Up in the Air is probably not the best movie you’ll ever see (like the various award nominations would have you believe). Nevertheless, it’s a very nice movie, full of vivid characters, wonderful performances and a good sense of humour.
In this movie, Jason Reitman manages to find the right balance between whimsicality and earnestness (something which he missed, imo, in Juno). While the story itself is rather serious, the characters are not. And yet, they did not become caricatures of themselves. Which is probably less Reitman’s achievement than that of the awesome cast.
And the cast was great. Not only George Clooney, Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick, who got all the good press. Across the board, we got solid performances. Even Zach Galifianakis did a good job (*gasp*).
It was also a really good idea to have recently laid-off people “portray” the lay-offs. It gave the movie more solidity somehow. [Make no mistake though, this movie is no political statement or in-depth look at the personal consequences of lay-offs.]
And I have to admit that the thing with Alex really hit me, even though it was pretty clear that it was coming. I wanted Ryan to have his Hollywood ending and I was really sad that he didn’t get it.
So, summarising, it’s nice to watch, even if it’s not the Second Coming of Cinema Christ.