I am a big George Clooney fan. I think I could watch a film that just featured him reading names out of the phone book. Up In The Air is an entirely character driven film. By that, I mean, that the film is about the characters in the film and the way they cope with their ordinary lives. No explosions, no trumped up murder charges, no blue-skinned aliens or mistaken identies.
The last two Clooney movies we saw were The Men Who Stare at Goats and Burn After Reading which feature the madcap Clooney. Up In The Air features the dramatic Clooney. In the film, he plays Ryan Bingham. Bigngham's job is contract firing, that is, his firm is hired by companies wishing to lay people off. Bingham flies in, does the deed and flies out.He pretty much lives in airports and hotels. He has a crappy apartment in Omaha, where his firm is located, but is hardly ever there. And he is happy with this existence, or at least thinks he is. But things happen that start to shake him in his belief that he can live his life with little or no human connection. A new hire at the firm thinks she has a better way to do business which will mean he won't have to travel anymore. He meets a woman on the road and they have wild sex (mostly hinted at) and starts wanting to see her more often. He goes to his sister's wedding and finds that his family never thinks about him. All this gets resolved, maybe a bit predictably, but it's a good story and Clooney is terrific.
The film also has a personal resonance for me. I don't think I even mentioned it in the blog but I was let go this summer from the company I had worked for for 35 years. I was the victim of a merger between my company and a larger firm. I was shocked but not totally surprised. Due to experience I had in my particular specialized field I didn't think I'd be out of work long. And I wasn't. I had two offers within about 5 weeks, picked one and I am quite happy with my new position.
In the movie there are many scenes of people's reactions to their being fired. I could easily see myself in some of them. But I'll tell you, it would have been easier to take if they had brought in George Clooney to deliver bad news.