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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Up in the Air soars above the rest

    Up in the Air

    George Clooney, Vera Farmiga

    Director: Jason Reitman

    Running time: 109 minutes

    Grade: A+

    Oscar season — a time for tallies, fashion and a sudden upsurge of visits. Some plan parties, others make predictions. The rest of us just watch the movies. With 10 films nominated for Best Picture, the race is tight. And with our favorite salty-haired rascal George Clooney entering the race with “”Up in the Air,”” let’s just say the competition is heating up.

    When the newly graduated Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick) is hired by an employee layoff business and starts making drastic changes, Ryan Bingham (Clooney) is not happy. He’s a suave traveler who has spent his whole life amassing frequent flier miles with the goal of reaching 10 million.

    While he may pack his suitcase like a member of the Impossible Missions Force, Ryan’s existence is a lonely one. His only solid interaction is with another airport veteran named Alex Goran (Vera Farmiga). The two trade mile-high club tales like old war stories, pointing out traveling cards like battle wounds. Their relationship becomes physical and much sexting ensues.

    Clooney’s portrayal of a man unable to cope with a world outside his single-serving lifestyle is convincing in its desperation. Ryan’s isolated existence is challenged when he is forced to take Natalie under his wing and show her the ropes. The two butt heads on almost everything — from a battle of the sexes to disparities between generations — while resiliently opposing the other’s wisdom.

    It’s exciting to watch Kendrick shake the “”Twilight”” skeletons out of her closet. While initially snappy and sarcastic to the point of annoyance, when she sobs like a 7 year old after her boyfriend dumps her via text message, her role takes a heartwarming turn. After crashing a hotel tech party and drinking to loosen up, she shakes her impeccable exterior and lets her fantastic acting shine through. If “”Up in the Air”” is not one of the best movies in the running for an Oscar, it’s probably the most socially applicable. It tackles the downtrodden economy head on, highlighting the uncertainties of the future. After all, Ryan’s whole business revolves around the phrase “”you’ve been let go.”” Natalie thought too much of the future, Ryan too little; however, just like the people they fire, both discover opportunities to rethink their choices.

    Most of us are graduating in the next few years, and with that huge event often comes the major decision of what to do with the rest of our lives. There’s something to be learned from the themes in “”Up in the Air.”” The future is unknown, stressful and thrilling, but the truth beneath Ryan’s B.S. advice actually resonates. Whether focusing on relationships, job hunting or starting a family, all you need to do is find your purpose — and a good co-pilot.

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