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Review

Clooney flick offers a breath of fresh air

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February 11, 2010

Being a workaholic with no real sense of family, friends, or romance is certainly not anything that one dreams of. But for Ryan Bingham (George Clooney), it’s the only world he knows, and what he prefers. “Up in the Air” shows a portrait of a man who is constantly in the air traveling from place to place and lacking emotional attachment to anyone. After seeing film upon film about family-oriented people, I found it refreshing and realistic to see something about someone who is completely ensconced in their work and with no desire to get married and have a family. After all, in modern times it seems that people like Bingham may be even more common than the traditional.

But how on earth could a man enjoy a job where he simply travels to different businesses to fire employees, because their bosses are too cowardly to do it? Well, I don’t really think he enjoys his job as much as he enjoys the consistency and safeness of it, which is something we can all relate to. He is so busy with his own life, that he is very disconnected with his family and at one part in the film says, “It’s not like I know her,” about his own sister. And sadly, to some extent some of us can relate to that too.

Clooney portrays a character who is so stubborn in his own ways that he won’t even allow himself to get close to a fellow business woman (Vera Farmiga). He cannot step beyond strictly casual relationships. A new employee (Anna Kendrick) joins Bingham’s company and turns his world upside down proposing a computer program that would allow them to fire employees without even leaving the office. Bingham is appalled that his whole life could be changed, grounding him to one place.

This film could be looked at in many ways. It shows the horrible economy of America, with people getting laid off left and right. It gives support to nontraditional lifestyles. It shows the detrimental effects of narcissism and disregard to forming or maintaining any sort of relationships. It’s strange, it may be one of the most depressing movies I’ve seen, not even remotely close to a feel good film, but it left me feeling good. This is a movie for the realist in all of us.

The story is fresh, inventive and unlike anything I’ve seen before. It’s important to not know exactly where a film is going, especially in an age of endless sequels and ridiculously predictable films. It has a stellar cast and I was certainly not disappointed by their performances. Clooney’s performance clearly led the film to greatness along with brilliant performances by Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick. This film deserves all of its nominations for superb performances and bringing a great and refreshingly original story to the big screen.

Natalie Conrad is a junior journalism and marketing communications major and French minor. She enjoys running,reading, writing, playing guitar, and traveling.