Up in the Air

  • Directors: Jason Reitman
  • Producers: Daniel Dubiecki, Jeffrey Clifford, Ivan Reitman, Jason Reitman
  • Writers: Sheldon Turner and Jason Reitman, Walter Kirn
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama
  • Actors: George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick

Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) is a man who makes his living traveling to workplaces around the United States and conducting employee 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. 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.

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 earns her a new job in San Francisco. Ryan enters an airport and stares at the schedule of departures, dropping his compact suitcase on the floor.

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