“Up In The Air”
Directed by Jason Reitman
2009, R, 109 min.
Our lives are “up in the air.” We’re uncertain about clinging to our jobs, and over 17 million of us are already dangling outside the corporate windows. Not just our jobs but our relationships, too, are uncertain. Most relationships aren’t heading for marriage, and many, if not most, marriages are headed for divorce. Even those with stable marriages and jobs don’t have any idea what will happen next. We’re up in the air.
George Clooney’s character is up in the air, but by choice. He likes airline travel, and doesn’t particularly care for anybody in particular. He gives seminars on getting rid of relationship “baggage.” His main job is as a traveling hatchet man. He fires people for a living. He doesn’t think much about them, nor about much of anything except piling up a record number of American Airlines “Advantage Miles.”
American Airlines should have gotten credit as the third lead in the movie. Its logo appears at least fourteen times, while its corporate partners in the hotel and car rental industry get three or four product placements each. But product placement, too, is a sign of our alienated times.
We loved the movie and talked about it all the way home. We skinned back layer after layer of universal meaning and cogent commentary.
While the movie might be taken as light commentary, or more likely as extremely dark comedy, it’s actually a deep study of a very complicated 21st century kind of person. And about us, dangling, up in the air!