Monday, January 4, 2010

Up In The Air

Today, Natasha and I went to a $4.50 matinee of Up In the Air at Terra Vista 6 theatre. I don't care that the theatre is a little run down, the fact that it allows me to spend less than $5 on a movie ticket fully makes up for that.

The movie Up In The Air was really good. I'd heard a lot of great stuff about it and it is nominated for and already won some awards, so I went in to it expecting greatness. One friend described it as being depressing, and while I do understand that after watching it, I think the "depression" comes from the movie being real. It is about a man, Ryan Bingham (George Clooney), who spends most of his time away travelling because his job requires him to go from city to city and "let people go" from their job. He is really good at his job and loves the mobility of it. He doesn't have a home, doesn't desire the baggage that comes from having relationships, and the only real goal in his life is to reach 10 million miles in his American Airline frequent flier program.

When his company decides to save money by switching to a video phone firing system, his life is shaken. At the risk of feeling cemented to one place, he tries to convince his boss (Jason Bateman) that the personal firings are more respectful and provide better comfort to those being "let go." His boss is not convinced, but suggests that the young and ambitious Natalie Keener (Anna Kendricks) shadow Ryan and figure out the in's and out's of letting people go. Natalie thought up the idea of saving money by switching to video firings, so her work with Ryan is meant to help develop the idea.

The two are very different people, and so they both offer different perspectives on work, love, and life to the other. Ryan has spent his whole life alone, believing that in the end everyone dies alone, but the young Natalie has dreams of love and family. Yet, when Natalie's boyfriend dumps her via text, it ironically parallels the impersonal communication she herself is bringing to their job, while Ryan fights against that.

By the end of the movie, you see Ryan has potentially fallen in love with a fellow traveller, Alex (Vera Farmiga), he has been meeting up with in different cities. And he forces himself to decide whether loneliness is what he really wants in his life.

There is one scene in the movie where Ryan, Alex, and Natalie are talking and drinking after Natalie's dump, that I think is my favorite scene from the movie. Natalie opens up about how she thought she'd be married and starting a family by 23, and goes on to describe the perfect man that generically describes every girls ideal man. Than you hear Alex give a 34 year-old woman's perspective, and you realize that at 10, or even 23, you don't know what you want. Even at 34, you are just beginning to figure things out.

Maybe it's because I'm 23 and realizing myself that I'm nowhere near reaching the goals I set for myself as a child (family), but I really liked this quality of the movie. The honesty about love, dreams, and life. I'm not going to beat myself up about dreams I made at 10, because I'm not the same person today when I made those dreams. The characters seem more real and relatable, more honest and less needy than those in romantic comedies. The fact that it didn't end with a cliche ending also won me over. I think cliches are for optimists, and I'm really finding myself to be a realist these days.

1 comment:

Amanda S. said...

I found Natalie's character to be very relatable. You don't see 23-year-olds portrayed in that way very often (i.e., as something other than a hot party girl). Refreshing.