Poetic and resounding, Up in the Air hits the emotional notes emphatically.
The pitch-perfect and subtle nuances, the ebb and flow of the characters, and the technical craftsmanship of director/co-writer Jason Reitman combine to form a poignant story about relationships.
Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) jetsets from city to city as a sort of corporate hitman. Companies pay him top dollar to do the dirty work of firing employees. It’s strategic in a sense — the company brings in a ringer bearing the bad news, and Bingham has a way of turning negatives into logical positives.
His uncanny knack for getting into people’s personal space while remaining professionally distant comes from years of practice — he has no real relationships outside of work. He’s forsaken all human relationships for a life spent in the air with dreams of becoming a member of the airline’s prestigious 10-million frequent flyer mile program, a feat that will give him executive privileges and his name on the side of a plane.
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Clint Eastwood stars as a racist Korean War veteran with a crusty exterior living in a neighborhood that’s rapidly changing with an influx of immigrants.
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It’s easier to give people an example of a tragedy rather than trying to explain the definition of the word itself.
And it would almost be a disservice to just call Things We Lost in the Fire a movie about tragedies.
It’s a visceral experience, like going through a wringing process, feeling what the characters feel, and standing alongside them at the edge of a chasm overlooking an unknowable depth. It’s a movie about tremendous loss and losing sight in the face of fear only to find solace in knowing there are others out there struggling more than you.
It’s taut, emotional, and so intimate that you can’t help but feel like a prisoner to the scenes in which you can’t escape unless you turn off the movie and step outside for a break.
Some might call TWLitF a tearjerker, but that would be like calling a tornado a breeze – there are moments in this movie that are so painful and raw, it makes your insides hurt.
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