George Clooney delivers one of the finest performances of his career as Ryan Bingham. Initially coming across as a vainglorious douche, Clooney slowly reveals more layers of his humanity until we’re left feeling melancholic over his eventual fate.
This is a smart picture, the textbook definition of a movie for adults. The dialogue is sharp, the banter is witty, but best of all is the combination of sadness and wisdom which informs the conversation between characters. They talk with the certainty that only being alive for a long time can bring. This is paired brilliantly with the idealism and naivete of young Natalie (Anna Kendrick), who views the world through an alternate lens than Bingham does. It’s a juxtaposition that many movies try, but few succeed. Up in the Air does not side with either protagonist’s life philosophy, rather inviting the viewer to partake in the conversation and realize they’re both just trying to do what we are as well. Make sense out of our lives. This is a phenomenal picture, and already one of my favorites.