Posted by: Admin | February 1, 2010

Up In The Air

This past weekend I went to see a movie… Up In The Air.


  • Sounds like a cute romantic comedy right?
  • Or maybe an animated flick about hot air balloons?
  • Or maybe even an action movie about a hostile airplane hijacking….


Or it could quite possibly be, a smack you in the face, harsh dose of unemployment reality, masked as a cute new movie by George Clooney.

This movie should have come with a simple disclaimer before it began showing.  The disclaimer could have said something like this.


If you are unemployed or were recently laid off, downsized or outsourced and you are struggling with the lack of compassion in corporate America this is NOT the movie for you.  The $10+ you just spent on this movie will be refunded if you promptly exit the theater.  And, your already fragile mental state will remain intact just as it is.. 

If you chose to stay, this movie may send you spiraling into a deeper misery.

But alas, there was no disclaimer.  So I sat down with my tub of popcorn and got ready to take in the cute smile and sexiness of Mr. Clooney.   And oh boy, I was quick to realize that this film was much more than a cutsie, lighthearted, romantic glimpse into the life of a frequent traveler.  Or, as the trailer promised:

Ryan Bingham, a corporate hatchet man who loves his life on the road, is forced to fight for his job when his company downsizes its travel budget. He is required to spend more time at home just as he is on the cusp of a goal he’s worked toward for years: reaching five million frequent flyer miles and just after he’s met the frequent-traveler woman of his dreams. 

Now, I do realize that the sentence above contains the words, “hatchet man”, “fight for his job” and “downsizing”.  So, I should have been somewhat prepared for it to have moments of seriousness or for it to show dear sexy George, struggling with some employment challenges.  But I have to be honest and say that I got way more than I expected when it came to all too realistic depictions of heartless lay offs.  And, all too realistic reactions from employees who were on the receiving end of these messages.  I guess maybe, it just all hit too close to home for me.

I won’t go on record saying it was a bad movie and I don’t want to share any spoilers in case you do plan on seeing it.  The acting was well done, and the story had a twinge of realism that made me uncomfortable.  And, I suppose those are two goals of any movie.  But for me, I felt unprepared for the realism and I found myself saying a couple of times that it’s a really good thing that I didn’t see this movie months ago when I was having one of my down swing days during my unemployment.  I’m really happy that I waited until I had a new job to see this film.

So, take it from me…. If you are planning on seeing this movie and you have indeed found yourself in that horribly uncomfortable chair hearing that horrible message that “your job is no longer available”, please be prepared for a number of uncomfortable moments in the theater.  And also be prepared to be impacted in very personal way by many of the scenes in this movie.



  1. I saw Up In The Air last month and reviewed it for my own unemployment blog:

    Even though I enjoyed it, I can see where this movie can make some unemployed people uncomfortable. Yes, the firing scenes were acted out by real, unemployed people, and they’re very realistic. And Clooney plays his part well.

    Up In The Air may not be the movie for you if you still have strong feelings about your layoff/firing. But it’s still an interesting look at layoffs and how they’re done in America.

  2. I had thought it was a romance movie too, until I learned from Oprah Winfrey, just last week, that it was about unemployment. She had three of the people in the movie who had actually lost their jobs. She showed their scenes too and that really affected me since I am going through the same thing.

    I just heard from the company I had interviewed with last month and I was turned down. I had figured that was going to happen, but oh well. I still go on. Something will turn up eventually.

    I am going out to lunch next Monday with a couple of friends I use to work with. One is picking me up and we are going to pick up the other at work. I have not been to that office since I was let go back in September, so it is going to be so hard. I know everyone will be happy to see me, well, mostly everyone, but it is going to be awkward since I am no longer a part of them.

    • Stevie ~ I’m so sorry that you didn’t hear good news about that job. I went through a couple of similar interview situations only to find that I was not the chosen candidate.. it’s very frustrating. But, hang in there, something will come your way.

      I know that visiting the office will be challenging, I can only imagine the bitterness that would consume me if I was heading back “to the scene of the crime”. Hold your head up high and enjoy the time with your friends. Family & friends are so important during this challenging time!

  3. “Your job is no longer available.”
    Is that a line from the film, or one of your own invention? Either way, it beautifully captures the way euphemisms serve to mute the “unpleasantness” associated with difficult moments. In this case, the unpleasantness experienced by the person wielding the axe: “I don’t feel comfortable telling you’re fired, here’s a box, go clean out your stuff. So, I won’t fire you. I’ll fire your job instead. That way, I’m still a good person, right?”
    Anyway, keep fighting the good fight, and writing a good blog–for yourself, and for your readers.

    • bk~ That is indeed a line from the movie. And, you sure hit the nail on the head.. the “pc” words used for these situations are only making the people doing the firing feel better.. they sure don’t help anyone who’s getting canned!

  4. I saw it and yes I felt sorry for all those who had to face him.Three of people getting fired where real and what they said was real.Two of them still not working.
    The writer said he wanted everyone to see what was happening in the work force.Well I was not taken by the movie and how it got all the reviews I do not know.
    I have not lost my job and I can not feel the pain that so many had endured.

    It is good to hear you are working and on your way to sanity again.

    Have a wonderful day.
    If you would look at my blog and make some comments and some clicks on the Google adds, I sure would appreciate it.

    • Gigi ~ I didn’t even realize while I was watching the movie that many of those people were “real” people… makes it hit home even more!

      I’ve been incredibly busy these past couple of weeks trying to tie up loose ends before the job starts but I’ll definitely try to swing by your blog!

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