The 2009 drama from Paramount Pictures, “Up in the Air” was directed by Jason Reitman with the screenplay Sheldon Turner. Starring: George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, Jason Bateman, Amy Morton, Melanie Lynskey, J.K. Simmons, Sam Elliott, Danny McBride, Zach Galifianakis, Chris Lowell, Steve Eastin and Marvin Young.
Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) has a job that is defining the way we work in the 21st century. He doesn’t have an office, he works on the road for his employer. His job is to do the dirty work for companies who don’t want to handle the messy details of firing employees. Spending most of his time traveling, Bingham has no personal ties and has developed a clinical method for terminating people in the era where downsizing corporations have made a mess of people’s lives.
One reason Bingham does his job so well is that he firmly believes that change can be a very good thing if handled constructively and he gives self-development seminars on how and why people need to unpack their lives from excess baggage. Everything is going fine for Bingham until the day his boss tells him that he is to train a new employee, Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick) who is an ambitious new graduate. Although he is not excited about the task, Bingham takes her on the road to teach her the ropes. Natalie doesn’t particularly like Bingham, his attitude or methods, but is an attentive student.
Natalie’s enthusiasm for the job and her desire to please her boss is impressive, even to Bingham who believes that she has a bright future in the business. They both provide a necessary service which neither of them can see ending.
Bingham and Alex Goran (Vera Farmiga) have a relationship of sorts, she is in the same line of work and both seem to be wondering where their lives are going but not ready to commit to a relationship but have fun every time they meet having meals and making love.
But much to Bingham’s surprise, his isolated road life is threatened by the introduction firing employees via email or instant messaging, which may be an impersonal way to firing someone, but it saves a lot of cash on air travel. Now on the other side of the table, Bingham and Natalie have a chance to see what it feels like to be grounded with no place to go.