Sunday, December 27, 2009
Movie Talk #2
UP IN THE AIR
I was finally able to watch the only movie I was expecting this season, and I have to say; ‘I was right’ it is the only movie worth watching right now.
Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) works for a company that fires people when their employers lack the backbone to do it themselves. This keeps him in a very busy schedule that takes him out of home for the better part of the year. He flies all the time, and has his whole life set around those parameters. He’s a very practical person detached of everything, that includes baggage, material stuff, people, even relationships. In fact, the only kind of relationship he has is with Alex Goran (Vera Farmiga) who also happens to be a road dog, just like him. Their scheduled meetings (product of their similar flying patterns) become the closest thing he has to a regular relation.
Everything changes when his company hires a young new talent just graduated from Cornell to improve the methods they use to do their job. Enter Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick) who has devised a new system that uses web cams and an internet connection to do what was usually done in person, i.e.: fire people. Ryan feels threatened by this and before he knows it he is assigned to show Natalie the ropes of the business, and thus, they become road buddies.
Here we get to see the differences between both, and they go way beyond the mere age gap, they have very different approaches to both, life and work. Here we get to know each other and the way they act by themselves and around others.
The central theme of the movie is change and how it happens before our eyes even when we don’t want it or are not prepared for it. We can see change happening in Clooney’s face when something major happens or when he comes to the realization that something is not right.
The fact is that we all change, we are not the same person we were two or three years ago, but we are not always aware of how we have changed, this movie offers the chance to take a look at ourselves and explore the past with fresh eyes.
We are all three characters, Ryan, Alex and Natalie, we are or have been in their emotional shoes at one point or another of our lives. We were young idealists with a mapped out plan for our future, and as we come of age we discover that life doesn’t work in those terms, it doesn’t have deadlines, and just like everything else, life and its priorities change, and we also have to do it in order to keep up with it.
At one point Ryan says “moving is living” and that’s just what we have to do, we have to move on.
This is also about alienation, most importantly, about self-alienation and how it affects our lives and our relationships. We all need to make connections, because as they say, life is better with company.
This is what movies should be, for once we are able to care for the characters, when Natalie (in a groundbreaking performance by Kendrick) disappears from the picture for a while, I missed her. This is more than just mere escapism, these are real people, and as such, we care for them. I mean, how invested can you be about Sherlock Holmes when you know for a fact that he is going to solve the case and catch the bad guy? His name is on the title of the movie for crying out loud!
Here is an opportunity to go to the movies, have a good time and get something out of it.
At the end of it we can just go back to our daily routines, but it’s not the same, because in the end, we are the ones that changed.
Up in the air. Paramount pictures. Rated R (for language and sexual content). Running time: 109 minutes.
Directed by Jason Reitman (director of Thank you for smoking and Juno)