Why I’m “Up In The Air”
Yesterday I finally saw Up In The Air, and as much I love (500) Days of Summer, Star Trek, Adventureland and Inglourious Basterds, I want it to win Best Picture.
My reasons are after the cut.
In the last year I personally have had my heartbroken, switched jobs, dropped out of grad school and moved back in with my parents (and let’s not even talk about all my student loans). As a country we’re still stuck in a recession, jobless rates are still high and debt is on the rise.
I was talking to my mother while we were driving home from Up In The Air and I was saying that there hasn’t really been movies about the “post-college life crisis,” as I like to call my current state, since Singles and Reality Bites (or if there have, I haven’t seen them). This year, there were movies on this topic in spades, (and no, I’m not going to discuss Alexis Bledel’s Post-Grad, because I haven’t seen it yet, and it looked bad to boot).
The first one I saw was Adventureland and it changed my life. I saw that movie on the same day I decided to drop out of grad school and I think it had a lot to do with that decision. It was as if Jesse Eisenberg’s character was me. I mean, one of his lines goes something like “I majored in Comparative Literature and Renaissance Studies. Unless someone needs help resorting a fresco, I’m screwed.” I also majored in Comparative Literature. There are a few other similarities to me and that character, but I’ll not go into that here. What I will say is I think that Adventureland did an amazing job of showing how, even if you think you have plan after graduating from college, life often has a way of not quite working out like you’d hoped.
Then came (500) Days of Summer. Not only did Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character demonstrate how after college, you won’t always be working in the field you planned on, but also how easy it is to get one’s heart broken.
This brings me to Anna Kendrick’s character in Up In The Air.
I have this theory that our generation has a warped idea of how life works.
This is partly due to the way the education system works; They put you in the factory at 5 and tell you to study study study because then you’ll go to college and college is the golden key to the world. What they neglect to tell you is once you’re out of college the job market is a bitch, you might not actually have a clue what you want to do with your life and you’ll be strapped with so much debt that thinking about it makes you want to die.
The other part has to do with the way college, and life after college, has been represented, or misrepresented, in films in the last 30 or so years. You’ll meet your husband in college, oh yes, or at the very least find a relationship that’ll last you until you’re 30 when you realize he’s not the marrying kind, but have no fear because as soon as you lose him you’ll find the one for sure.
That is a pack of lies. I mean, of course life isn’t like the movies, I know this now. But regardless of how aware you are of the fictitious nature of films, there’s still a little part of you that secretly thinks maybe it will be that easy.
Kendrick’s character sort of references this in the film at one point, when she describes her dream partner and life. She gets a rude awakening and I thank her for it. I think if more films were made to address the rude awakening waiting the millions of college graduates every year the world would be a better place for it.
So it is for Kendrick’s character and all that she addresses that this film wins my vote.
I’ll also say Vera Farmiga was wonderful and George Clooney is fabulous. He does things with just his face that are just heartbreaking. Jason Reitman’s screenplay and pitch-perfect direction touch on the tough subject of joblessness and the desperation that comes with, while at the same time imbuing the film with a sense of hope–a real hope, not a false feeling. This film is everything we need now and perhaps more.
Posted on January 11, 2010, in Review, the Academy Awards and tagged (500) Days of Summer, Adventureland, Anna Kendrick, George Clooney, Inglourious Basterds, Jason Reitman, Jesse Eisenberg, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Oscars, Star Trek, the Academy Awards, Up In The Air, Vera Farmiga. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.