Should I Watch It? – Up in the Air (2009)

His look sort of sums up our feelings about the movie.

7.5/10 – IMDb
91% – Rotten Tomatoes


This one may seem like it’s coming out of left field, and I suppose it is. Maybe it was seeing Clooney in The Monuments Men or the fact that I plan on making Anna Kendrick “Mrs. Brian McMahon” at some date to be determined. Regardless, Jason Reitman’s film was on my mind, so here we go. George Clooney’s Ryan Bingham must deal with modernization in the workplace, as his company no longer needs him to travel around the country constantly to fire people. Ryan has worked long enough to know the airways better than home. Anna Kendrick’s Natalie Keener is a young innovator, largely responsible for the impersonalizing of Bingham’s occupation. Reitman zeroes in on simple interactions, between the two aforementioned characters, Bingham and his “clients,” and Bingham and his somewhat estranged family. This makes for a plodding work, pushing towards a catharsis Bingham resists, unable to fathom where he fits in within his family or his rapidly changing workplace.

Should I pay to see it?

At this point, paying is probably the only way to see the movie, given that it is not available to stream online on Netflix. In retrospect, not one worth heading to the theaters for, but if you’re a fan of Clooney a small price will not be a waste. I would not go out of my way for this one, but it does provide a subdued yet haunting portrait of modern relationships.

Vera Farmiga breathes some life into Clooney’s Bingham.

Could I watch it with a date?

I’d have to give a fairly firm no, here. Unless you’re trying to scare a special someone into not ending up like Ryan Bingham, I would not recommend watching on date night. Though thought-provoking, the movie hovers more around words like depressing and flat than anything else. On the other hand, if you’re wallowing in self-pity after an unceremonious breakup or something of that like, then by all means throw it on. I do not imagine many people looking for dejected silence while on a date, and I cannot imagine any other reaction to this movie, pushing its audience more towards somber introspection than the type of lively banter one often looks for from a date movie.



Young vs. Old, Past vs. Future

Could I watch it with my mom?

Definitely a better bet than watching with a date, though perhaps similar problems could arise. As we have mentioned, mothers tend to be fond of Mr. Clooney, and the subject matter will probably strike at adults in their middling age more so than younger audience members. A note of warning: high probability of this movie prompting mothers to complain about Facebook, Twitter, and the young people not knowing how to communicate properly.



If you want to watch Ms. Kendrick/Mrs. McMahon, I’d say go find Pitch Perfect (or follow her wonderful Twitter account), and there are certainly better Clooney options, but I suppose you won’t regret taking the time to let Up in the Air wash gently over you, reminding you of the communication revolution without really saying anything about it.

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About Author: Brian McMahon

Brian is an author and co-founder of GoodWillWatching. He likes to write and is deathly afraid of bugs. His Great American Novel, not yet titled or existent, will be shocking the world some time or another. He once stayed up for two days straight because of poor information regarding the arrival of Halley’s Comet, which was not due for approximately 57 years. You can follow him @bm1313 on Twitter, or in real life from a safe distance.