January 01, 2010
Up in the Air
At the risk of corroborating all the hype, I have to say that Up in the Air is the best film I've seen all year (so far). This year the offerings have been sparse in terms of solid movies, but the latest from director Jason Reitman (Juno) certainly rises to the top of the list. What distinguishes it from the others I've seen thus far? I think perhaps its bravery. Most of even the good movies ended on a settled note where problems were resolved and there was a clear choice between what to do and what not to do.
Up in the Air, while I will neither confirm or deny its ending as happy or sad, seems resistant to making a judgment either way. The loneliness of a life lived avoiding commitment is honestly explored, but equally examined is the dissatisfaction with "settling" and being "tied down." Amidst subject matter that has been done before are characters that are unique and well-drawn. Performances by George Clooney and company are believable. Clooney's character may be a prick, but he's a likable prick, and proves his heart is not made of stone without lapsing into syrupy sentimentalism. And there are some genuine surprises, a good sense of humor that doesn't seem forced or self-conscious, and enough richness in material (source was the book by Walter Kirn) to warrant a second viewing. I'll drink to that.
Up in the Air is a winner. Go see it. And a Happy new year to you and yours. Directed by Jason Reitman. With George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, Jason Bateman, Amy Morton, Melanie Lynskey, Danny McBride. 109 min. ★★★½