Friday, March 5, 2010

Up In the Air, a Review

It is not the sort of movie that audiences should love. It is less an escape, and more a story about escapism. And yet, some of us can completely identify with Ryan Bingham.

His philosophy is simple. Most people weigh their lives down with so much junk and relational ties that they are trapped in a prison responsibilities and materialism. He, on the other hand, has reduced his life down to just what will fit in one carry on. He has also found peace in having no relationships. He fills his life with the routine of travel and the adventure of travel, which he is able to do for his job.

Does this sound appealing to you, or is it more of a sad existence? In the movie, Ryan sees his philosophy challenged. He even gets to the point where he tells his future brother-in-law that everyone needs a co-pilot. He begins to realize that every good memory a person has involves a relationship. We need people. Of course, the thing he forgets is that every bad memory a person has also involves relationships.

For many this movie will be a disappointment. For another select few, it is enticing. There is nothing quite so freeing as the experience of whittling your life down to the bare essential material possessions you need to survive. The fewer relational ties you have does indeed reduce the stress and pain you must endure. There is nothing quite so exciting as jumping on a plane and seeing a different view every few days. Then again, there is a lot to be said for having someone you can share life with…

How would you like this movie to end? Do you want Ryan to find normalcy in a relationship and his feet firmly planted on the ground? Or would you prefer that the fairy-tale ending be him to come to his senses, pick up his backpack and scan the departure board for a flight to board? How you choose will determine whether you like this story. (Oh, that and can you handle the language, and brief nudity involved.)

I, for one, liked it—aside from the aforementioned (needless and gratuitous) offenses. Catch it on a plane, perhaps.

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