The first glowing reviews for Jason Reitman’s George Clooney–starring Juno follow-up, Up in the Air, from the Telluride Film Fest over the weekend, seem to indicate what we’ve long suspected — that the movie’s great and probably a lock for one of this year’s ten Best Picture slots. “A four-star knockout. One of the year’s finest films,” raves In Contention’s Kristopher Tapley. “A winner,” says Anne Thompson. “It’s a witty, charming and moving exploration of a world we all recognize.”
Also, though, all buzz seems to confirm something else — that Air might be the timeliest, most zeitgeist-capturing movie released this awards season. A dramedy adapted from Walter Kirn’s novel, it follows Clooney as a frequent-flying corporate downsizer charged with firing employees en masse when bosses are too scared to do it themselves, who, ironically, is in danger of being downsized himself. Clooney’s love interest is played by Vera Farmiga, a like-minded flier with whom his relationship is jeopardized when cost-cutting threatens his ability to travel.
Sections of the film are apparently buffered with interviews with 25 real-life laid-off employees (“The incomprehension, fury, bewilderment, sense of injustice, hopelessness and despair with which these people express themselves is touching, honest and true,” says Variety). So, is there any other movie on the imminent horizon better equipped to speak to an angry nation at 9.7 percent unemployment? Probably not, unless the apocalypse arrives and suddenly makes The Road more relevant.
But this morning, in a probable bid to capitalize on the Telluride buzz, Paramount has released the first clip from Up in the Air (watch below), and, of course, they’ve decided instead to play up its romantic-comedy angle. Even so, we’re pretty excited for this one.