Up in the Air is Fantastic!

The movie is great. It’s a movie about a fictional character in a fictional job, and yet it’s probably the most realistic movie I have ever seen. The movie is completely predictable, dark, gloomy and bleak, yet I loved it. It’s incredibly well acted and the characters’ soul searching felt tangible and real.

I loved the movie’s treatment of the “runner syndrome” where someone single mindedly chases a goal for years without thinking why. In the real world, individuals often chase down the societal expectations of the rat race. In this case, George Clooney seems to be running away from life. It’s not clear even to him why he chose the goals he chose, but the words he uses could apply to many as he’s chasing “the number he has in his mind”.

Up in the Air is probably the first post modern chick flick. Many of my female friends argued it’s not a chick flick at all because it’s not romantic and it does not have a happy ending, but I beg to differ. Being married and having a family sucks. Even when you are married you end up dying alone (if only because your significant other dies at a different point). However, it’s better than the alternative! The movie’s conclusion is clearly an adaptation of Churchill’s quote on democracy adapted to having a significant other: it’s the worst of all forms of living except for all others!

Girls: take your boyfriends because the conclusion is ineluctable: he better marry you because the alternative is much worse! No one wants to end up like the Clooney character!

  • Congratulations to Portland native Anna Kendrick! She's been nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actress for her performance in the movie "Up in the Air". Way to go Anna!

  • Hello Fabrice,

    First off, to be transparent, I have not seen Up in the Air.

    However, I take issue with your comment that it is a post-modern chick-flick because it becomes clearly evident that traditional “chick flick” scenarios (read – romance and a relationship) are far superior than the alternative.

    Seems to me that this has lost sight of the purpose of a chick flick; not to convince some guy that “he better marry you” but rather to offer women a sense of emotional / sexual excitement and pseudo fulfillment — akin to porn for men. In the same way that watching a movie about older women who regret not being more sexually adventurous would (likely) not do too much for young men, but might convince their girlfriends to try something new. Not necessarily a bad date movie, by any stretch of the imagination, but not po-mo porn either.

    As my conception of post-modernism is more about a current trend being taken to (or beyond) its logical conclusion, by the standards of modern society, it would seem far more like a post-modern James Bond — where a single guy is singularly focused on an outcome with seeming little analysis.

    Thanks for the thought provoking post!

  • Another thing about the movie is that -nicely against tradition- the male “runner” is deceived by a woman. This was quite a nice change of roles from the habitual gender-deception (man screws woman in some no-name corporate hotel for mid-class executives, both are road-warriors, man has a lovely wife and kids, woman is building a career at expense of any family life).

    In any case, I thought it was not such an exciting movie but rather an opportunistic attempt -with shamefully moralistic tones- to keep the recession victims sedated. I did like your post though, thanks for that!