Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday Afternoon Movie

I just finished watching the George Clooney film , "Up in the Air", via my cable company. I've been so busy lately, I have not had time to get to the theatre to watch a movie, so the "Movies On Demand" function of my remote is a welcome perk.
I'd heard this was a good film and the trailers looked interesting, so I thought I'd give it a try.

I must say, I found the movie profoundly depressing. Don't get me wrong, it was well acted by all the principal stars, an interesting viewpoint from which to tell the story and very well executed, but from the first few minutes, I found myself silently sobbing. Tears streamed down my face intermittently throughout the whole picture, at the depictions of middle-aged people being told they were no longer needed and had been let go from their jobs.

I relate to this pain on a visceral level. I know first-hand, the utter despair and sense of worthlessness you feel when being told by your company that they no longer need or want you as a part of their operation. I know what it is like to be dismissed one day, left with no recourse, after years of dedication and hard work. I remember lying awake in the early morning hours wondering how in God's name I would pay my bills and fill my hours. I have an intimate connection to this terror; I know it personally.

None of it seemed real to Ryan, the protagonist. He managed to keep the ugly reality of his work neatly compartmentalized, and didn't let it get to him. He was unscathed by the hardship and pain of the strangers that he was paid to fire. The tables were turned on Clooney's character, when his romantic foil, Alex, showed him that his emotions were just make-believe to her, as much a non-reality in her life, as the emotions of the victims of his cold dismissal services were in his. In the end, although he'd started to become a sympathetic character and I did feel sorry for him, I think he sort of got what he had coming to him.


  1. Sorrow, pain, loss, grief... they pop in funny, unexpected ways. Even in the movies... where we didn't expect to find them.

    The fraternity of the broken-hearted is co-ed.

    The universal greeting is a caring hug.

    Here's yours...

    from Don

  2. I know I am one of the lucky ones. Only eight months after being cut adrift, I found employment again and my life wasn't derailed, but I surely know what it feels like. Though I still see many people each day who are unemployed and struggling, I know things are finally improving and a lot of folks are finding work again. Thanks for the hug, Don -right back atcha.

  3. I also just saw this movie on Netflix..think very highly of it..the writing, acting, no doubt a heartless premise that pinpoints our pitiful lack of caring about the"other". Cheating and callousness reign, and just desserts seem to be in good, the character ran right into his bad karma..great film!

  4. Hi DeeDee! Great to be back at your blog and catching up - again! Gosh I just saw this movie too, and thought it was, well yeah, a bit depressing, but yet a slice of life. I have known people like these characters. They didn't fire people for a living but they were terribly caught up in their careers and just about excluded any other facet of living on this planet. No hobbies or interests, no real "social life" in terms of friends - just the job, the job, the job. I frankly don't think George would have known what to do with her had he "won" her over.

    I promise to be more regular!


  5. Omigosh, I completely agree with you! It was a sad, depressing movie. What got me was that the employers could not fire their own staff, they had to hire a company to do it for them. Talk about remote and removed! The staff weren't even treated as people. It's hard to believe that actually goes on. I thought the little girl who played Clooney's assistant was excellent. You could see her change as she watched the grief on people's faces. She just couldn't do it anymore.

  6. I think I may give that one a miss. I want to be cheered up at the movies not depressed; life can achieve that quite well enough without any help from fiction.

    I recall when I first read your blog how deeply sad I was for you. It's good to be here when things are better.