Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Up In The Air

Ryan Bingham (Clooney) is a man who makes his living traveling to workplaces around the United States and conducting layoffs for bosses too cowardly to do it themselves. Ryan also delivers motivational speeches, using the analogy "What's In Your Backpack?" to extol the virtues of a life free of relationships with people and things. He relishes the comfort of anonymity during his perpetual travels. Ryan's personal goal for his life is to achieve ten million frequent flyer miles (a feat managed only six times previously, according to Bingham). While traveling, he meets another frequent flyer named Alex (Vera Farmiga) and they begin a casual relationship.

Ryan is called back to his company's offices in Omaha, Nebraska, where he finds out that an ambitious young coworker named Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick) is pushing a plan to cut costs by having employees stay grounded and conduct layoffs over the internet. Ryan argues that Natalie knows nothing about the process of firing people, and his boss (Jason Bateman) assigns him to take Natalie with him on his upcoming travels to show her what it's like. As they travel together and become better acquainted, Natalie questions Ryan's philosophy, but Ryan is happy to remain in his niche and continue avoiding serious relationships. During their travels, Natalie finds the layoffs to be an eye opening experience, albeit a negative one as it's devastating for those being fired.

While on the road, Natalie's boyfriend dumps her by text message, leaving her shattered. Ryan and Alex take her with them to crash a tech-conference party at their hotel, which has her finally cut loose. When Natalie talks to Ryan the next day about his refusal to consider a commitment to Alex in spite of their obvious compatibility as a couple, she becomes infuriated; she apologizes later, but soon afterwards they are both called back to Omaha to begin using Natalie's remote-layoff program instead of firing people face-to-face.

Instead of returning to Omaha, Ryan invites Alex to accompany him to his sister's wedding in northern Wisconsin, and she accepts. He introduces her to his older sister Kara (Amy Morton) and his younger sister Julie (Melanie Lynskey), who explains that she and her fiancé Jim (Danny McBride) didn't have the money for a honeymoon; instead, they asked their friends to take pictures of a cardboard cutout of the couple in different places, so "at least we have the photos." Before the wedding, Ryan shows Alex his old high school. Their date is cut short when Kara calls with urgent news; Jim has cold feet, and Bingham must use his motivational skills to persuade him to go through with the wedding. Although this runs counter to all of Ryan's personal ideals, he successfully argues that the important moments in life are seldom alone; Jim apologizes to Julie and the wedding proceeds as planned. Ryan and Alex enjoy attending the wedding together, but afterward Ryan finds that he is once again alone as Alex departs back to resume her own life.

In Omaha, Ryan is less than thrilled to learn more about the online firing program and its systematic precision. He goes to deliver his "What's In Your Backpack?" speech at a prestigious convention, but is unable to continue and walks out shortly after taking the stage. He flies to Alex's home in Chicago. When she opens the door, it's apparent that she's a married woman with young children. He leaves without saying a word; she later tells him on the phone that her family is her real life and Ryan is simply an escape. On the flight home, the crew announces that Ryan has just crossed his ten million miles mark. The airline's chief pilot (Sam Elliott) comes out of the cockpit to meet Ryan, who confesses that meeting his goal is less exciting than he had imagined. Back in his office, Ryan calls the airline to transfer half a million miles each to his sister and brother-in-law so that they'll be able to fly around the world.

Ryan's boss comes in and tells Ryan that one of the employees he and Natalie fired has killed herself. In the aftermath, Natalie quits and the company sends Ryan back onto the road, putting the remote-layoff program on indefinite hold. Ryan writes a glowing letter of recommendation for Natalie that helps her get a new job in San Francisco. Ryan enters an airport and stares at the schedule of departures, dropping his compact suitcase on the floor. The film concludes with Ryan's voice over on how most men will be leading normal suburban lives, while he will be flying above them. The tone is hopeful, as Ryan is now free from his job and is now able to pursue a social life.

**Plot adapted from Wikipedia

***Well it's not actually about FAs... And i'm no good at making reviews, buti really liked this movie. ANNA KENDRICK is good. sayang she's only a background character in the TWILIGHT saga. hehe :)

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