‘Up in the Air’ realistic

David Wiens

“Up in the Air” was, quite frankly, not really aimed at college-aged demographics. Most of the subtly sorrowful themes revolving around the bleak state of the business world probably did not have the weighty impact most older audiences got, but while I may not appreciate that aspect, there is still a lot about “Up in the Air” to love.

What makes this movie truly worth seeing is its unbridled honesty. Most movies given a character like Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) who fires people for a living and spends as little time as he possibly can in his empty apartment would almost unconsciously try to force him to change his ways as soon as they possibly could without regard for plausibility or faithfulness to the character. Likewise, it would have been tempting with the introduction of an online version of his job, to beat him senseless by firing the guy who fires other people for a living, but “Up in the Air” does neither of those.

The film does not try to push the mood to warm or cold hearted so much as it rises and falls with what happens in the story. It would have been easy to try and throw the young businesswoman shadowing Bingham into his arms to create conflict between him and his love interest, Alex Gorgon (Vera Farmiga), but that did not happen, because it would not happen in real life. Would he really give away his frequent flier miles to his semi-estranged sister and her new husband? Yes, because it makes him feel good, costs him nothing, and lets him do something nice for family without actually going to visit with them.

Now what solely and completely sold me on this movie was just one single moment near the end that I cannot tell you without spoiling it, one moment so profoundly honest and yet so seldom seen on film that the critic in me wanted to track down whoever fought to keep it in and hug them. This one thing that elevated “Up in the Air” from a telling glimpse into the life of a workaholic up to an acclaimed picture with six Oscar nominations. In short and in earnest; it is a movie worth seeing.