Up in the Air: A Review

George Clooney is not my favorite actor, but he was born to play this role. He plays Ryan Bingham, a consultant whose only job is to fire people. When I first heard about this movie, my first thought was, “I could do that job!”

It ends up being a treatise on relationships, work and self-esteem. It’s deep without going over the edge; funny in a casual as-it-so-happens way.

((Minor spoilers below))

The settings that the movie uses are endearing. Instead of the usually coast-oriented movie production, this one is in St. Louis (site of most principal photography), Detroit, Wichita, Des Moines, and rural Wisconsin. Indeed, the hotel in Wisconsin could easily be the family-run hotel we use for our retreats in New Glarus.

When Clooney confronts the groom at the wedding to entice him back to the altar (“You really want *me* to do this?”), some of the basic underpinnings of the story come out. “I don’t want to. What happens next? Kids, a job, a house, school, I get old, grandkids and then I die. I don’t want that.” A beautiful, succinct scene.

On a personal note, I really appreciated when Clooney achieves his personal dream — becoming the seventh person to log over 10 million miles on American Airlines frequent flier program. In 1992, I became the 47th frequent flier for Czech Airlines. It didn’t take too many miles, either 25,000 or 50,000. Virtually everyone I knew in Prague’s computer business community was a frequent flier. But to be #47, handed a simple card with that number and my name on it. Free upgrades to Business Class, free flights overseas on vacation, learning the names of everyone on the Prague to Moscow leg. I recognized the thrill.

Highly recommended. Worthy of the Oscar Best Picture Nomination (though Hurt Locker is better).

One Response to “Up in the Air: A Review”

  1. What a timely review! I’ve been looking for a movie set in rural Wisconsin. Something more recent than Rascal.
    Got this on Netflix for next weekend.

Leave a Reply