Posted by: mzbitca | January 21, 2010

The story of a man ready to make a connection

and of how women don’t have to be there for him.

I’m talking about “Up in the Air” with George Clooney, Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick.  I went to go see the movie because I’m still mildly boycotting “Avatar” and because I’ve always like George Clooney, he seems to have a good sense of humor and, although I’m willing to be proven wrong, for as much as people call him a playboy I haven’t heard him say nearly as many misogynistic things as some of the so called married family men of Hollywood.  (Sugartits, anyone).

The movie is basically about a man who loves his nomadic lifestyle and that he moves through life without much of anything by way of possessions and personal relationships.  He finds himself being moved out of his comfort zone by the possible implementation of using computers instead of face-to-face interviews (his job is to go into companies that are downsizing and help employees “transition” to their new way of life).  He is not happy with this new technology and takes it out on the young women who invented it, Natalie Keener,  by saying she doesn’t know what it’s really like.  In response, his boss makes him fly around the country with her and show her how it is to help her make the technology better.  Along the way he’s also preparing for his sister’s upcoming wedding when he hasn’t seen or really talked to them much in years.  He is also having a romantic relationship with another traveling business person who he views much like himself, Alex Goran.

Along the way he makes a connection with Natalie that felt neither fatherly nor sexual, as she confesses that she moved to his town to follow a boy and leave a good job to then later be dumped by said boy,  Clooney’s Character Ryan starts to try to bring her over to his way of thinking but slowly realizes, as the time comes for him to stop flying and remain dormant that he doesn’t know how to live any other way and he is scared for the future.  

His response is to try and make a connection, he goes to his sister’s wedding, bringing Alex and realizing that his sister chose her fiance’s uncle to walk her down the aisle instead of him and that he’s not truly a full part of the family.  He attempts to woo Alex only to realize that she is married and has another life and that she meant what she said when she wanted to have a fun and fantasy life with him and that she wasn’t just saying that to please him.   In the end,  Natalie moves on to follow her dream and Ryan is put back into the sky and traveling and he is happy again.

The main reason I liked this movie was because, even though the main lead was a man,  he was earnestly interacting with 90% women who were, for the most part, very well written.

Natalie was by far my favorite character.  She choose a guy over a better job because he wanted her to come move with him.  She knew she shouldn’t do it and that it goes against everything she had learned but she did it anyway.  As much as everyone likes to be the independent, intelligence person there are times where we make decisions because of other people.  It doesn’t make us bad people, it makes us human.  She wasn’t happy where she was so she did they only thing she could think of doing, she got a job somewhere and worked hard to make her mark there and to prove something to herself or to someone.  In the end, her boyfriend breaks up with her and she realizes that she needs to leave and she goes back out and gets her dream job.

Alex was another interesting character.  She was Ryan’s equal and they had great chemistry together and she seemed to be always traveling.  When Ryan has his “epiphany” he runs to Chicago to ask her to be with him.  The whole time, with years of rom-coms running through my head, I thought I knew what was supposed to happen.  Women changes man’s life,  Women then must be readily available to man because he wants her, whether or not she showed any interest in a real relationship.  He gets there and a small child answers the door and Alex quickly shuts him down while yelling to her husband that it’s someone who was lost.  In the ways of men everywhere, Ryan is upset that she does not want anything more from him and she viewed their relationship as the Parenthesis of her life.  He was heartbroken and upset but I was glad.    So many times have we had the wandering man syndrome where he is tamed by the love of the women because everyone knows that women only get in relationships with unavailable men because we want to “change” them.  Not because maybe we are unavailable too but still may want human interaction and sex.  Ryan never made any attempt to act like he wanted more than a casual fling but he couldn’t believe that when he changed my mind she didn’t feel the same way.  It wasn’t that he didn’t understand Alex, he did, they had a real connection, it was that he couldn’t imagine why, when he was ready for more commitment she would not be as well.  You could almost see how confused he was, isn’t this how it’s supposed to go, that’s what they’ve been telling me for my whole life, when I want a women she will be there because all they want is to be married.



  1. Interesting! I felt like I got burned with “Men Staring at Goats” so I wasn’t really planning to see Clooney in this one. But now I just might.

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