This review is from: Up in the Air (DVD)
"Up In The Air" is a reality check for individuals who have chosen professional and material success over family obligations and mainstream sentimentalities. Yes, Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) has made great sacrifices that seem unconventional, but does not conventionalism come with its own price? "Up In The Air" reconciles unorthodox reasoning with collective thinking. At one point in the movie when it appears that Bingham will become a relic of the past, he is redeemed. It's a man versus machine moment when corporate heads decide to disband its new technology of contractually terminating employees through teleconferencing in favor of face-to-face relations. In an altered reality, the boilerplate would have Bingham losing his job; due to the changing work environment and lamenting about the personal relationships he sacrificed to be a corporate dweller. Fortunately, this doesn't happen, which is a "thumbs up" for personal choice.
In the end, the clear message is that life is filled with choices that have an "upside" and a "downside" attached. As one undergoes a "Cost-Benefit Analysis," it is important to take the long view of a myriad of decisions. There are no moral absolutes! Rather, happiness is a culmination of core choices surrounding individual contentment.
"Up In The Air" is a great movie for individuals on both sides of the equation--those who have abandoned personal relationships for professional success and those who have abandoned self actualization for familial responsibilities.