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Up in the Air (2009)
Friday, December 4, 2009
Language and some sexual content.
George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, Jason Bateman, Tamala Jones, Chris Lowell
Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner
Limited, expands: Dec. 11; wide: Dec. 25
A corporate hatchet man who loves his life on the road but 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.
Up in the Air (2009) | Review
Living as Moving
However, as we see even as Ryan counsels those he is laying off, somewhere inside him is a recognition that the value of a person and a relationship is more than just a number. Even as he talks about people weighing you down and keeping you from moving, he counsels those he lays off to look to both the uniqueness of their own character and their value to those around them to carry them on. As Ryan tells a grown man who finds himself paralyzed by the thought that nothing in his life is going to have any value, even if we are all just headed on an imminent path to death, wouldn't that path be better with company? And even as Ryan himself encounters both the joys of relationships as well as their disappointments, in the end, what we see is no longer a man freed by the absence of relationships' weight on his shoulders but one with an emptiness that can no longer be filled with just a complimentary blanket and bag of peanuts.
The problem is, while Ryan's system of logic is one supported by a world ready and eager to calculate the value of people by age, measurement, or market value, that system of value hasn't held an ounce of water since the moment God created us. Filling us with his own breath and crafting in each of us unique souls and minds and bodies with His own hands, God determined before we were even born that no number could even begin to define who each of us is or the value each of us holds. Eliminating the debt of our sin through the sacrifice and resurrection of His own son, God completely obliterated the rule of any cost/benefit system of value with his sacrificial grace and forgiveness. And speaking the words of Matthew 11:28-30—Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light—God proved that while relationships may sometimes be the heaviest things in life, the very nature of relationship as He created it and as He offers in His own extended hand is that we will never have to carry any of life's burdens alone.
As The Velveteen Rabbit, a book which a character flips through in one of the Up in the Air's later scenes, reveals—love is what makes us real. Not money. Not math. Not moving. And with God in the picture, that couldn't be any truer
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