"Make no mistake your relationships are the heaviest components in your life.... The slower we move the faster we die. Make no mistake, moving is living."As I write this it is January 2010, and the U.S. continues to face one of the most heart-aching economic deficits it's ever seen. Thousands are out of work, morale is abysmal and people are losing hope. As the box office indicated last year, many people are looking to see "escapism" movies, ones that make them forget their problems. Then comes Up In The Air, the timely movie that offers a first-hand look at a man who's been the enemy to many laid off employees over the past two years--the man who does the dirty work your boss didn't want to-- by handing you your walking papers in a professional, succinct way.
Now before you write this movie off, picture this: Ryan Bingham (played by George Clooney) travels 275 days in the year across the country to give thousands of people some of the worst news of their lives--that they've been let go. He has no real home, unless you call the friendly skies his home, he's completely alienated from relationships (friendly or otherwise), and he's perfectly fine with that. No arguments about who's going to pick up the kids from school, no complaints about spending too much time away from home, no hassle about forgetting someone's birthday. No strings attached. And as long as folks are getting laid off by the thousands, Bingham will always be employed and continue to keep his coveted lifestyle...until the day the game as he knows it changes and his life presents a whole new meaning to him. The rules of his professional and personal life are turned around and he's left feeling lost, alone, and--worst of all--vulnerable.
Up In The Air isn't necessarily designed to make you feel sympathetic toward the bad guy, but rather presents the other side of the recession, a side you may be more familiar with than you think. At the end of the day, Up In The Air makes us think about the importance of having someone to come home to and how we define ourselves on the job.
Reel Talk rating: A