‘Up in the Air’ wowing press in Toronto

Posted by · 12:46 pm · September 11th, 2009

Up in the AirI’ve been keeping a steady eye on the reactions to a press screening of Jason Reitman’s “Up in the Air” this morning via Twitter.  The film will play to the masses tomorrow night, but so far, it seems to be landing just right across the board.

ComingSoon’s Ed Douglas noted swiftly, “Believe the Hype. This is a very special film. Loved it!”  MSN’s James Rocchi, meanwhile, chimed in with, “Up in the Air: Don’t believe the anti-hype. Funny, tough, real; a big step up from all involved, and a touch of The Music Man, too.”

Finally HitFix’s Drew McWeeny seemed almost speechless, offering, “Just out of ‘Up In The Air.’ Devastated. Didn’t expect that emotional response at all” and “I walked ten blocks to the hotel, unable to look a single person in the eye. I am shredded.”

All of that was fine and good and, to a large extent, expected.  But who would have anticipated a crotchety soul like Jeff Wells to call it the year’s best film and fawn over it like so…

I’ve just seen the most eloquent, affecting and altogether best film of 2009…so far….This is one of the calmest and most unforced this-is-who-we-are, what-we-need and what-we’re-all-afraid-of-in-the-workplace movies about adults that I’ve ever seen…It’s a film that walks and talks it and knows it every step of the way. Work, adulthood, asking the questions that matter, compassion, family, stick-your-neck-out, etc. The whole package. With an almost profound lack of Hollywood bullshit and jerk-offery. And a kind of Brokeback Mountain-y theme at the finale — i.e., “move it or lose it.”

Up In The Air doesn’t tell you what to feel — it lets you feel what it is. All the best movies do that. They don’t sell or pitch — they just lay it down on the Oriental carpet and say to the viewer, “We’ve got a good thing here, and if you agree, fine. And if you don’t, go with God.”

I respect the ideas put forth in some quarters that the film is in danger of drowning in hype of this magnitude, but I don’t really buy into that all that much because my job isn’t to manage expectations. My job is to react, and dammit if I haven’t felt more excited, more elevated by a film like I have “Up in the Air” in a few years. To keep that to myself would simply be dishonest.

And regardless, I’m happy to see I’m not alone. Again, more reactions will filter through tomorrow, but this is a hell of a start.




→ 9 Comments Tags: , | Filed in: Daily

9 responses so far

  • 1 9-11-2009 at 1:02 pm

    Kokushi said...

    Cant wait to see this movie but it better blow me away like The Dark Knight, No Country for Old Men did and Clooney better give a performance in the same level of Ledger in TDK and Lewis in TWBB or i will be dissapointed, lol.

  • 2 9-11-2009 at 1:31 pm

    Brian said...

    Working really hard to manage my own expectations….nothing worse than a film failing to resonate because you were expecting too much. It totally sounds like my thing, though.

    I’ve just gotta put it at the back of my mind for, what, two months? I can do that…

  • 3 9-11-2009 at 1:49 pm

    Graham said...

    It’s great to see a new director have such a good track record so early in their career, must feel good. :)

  • 4 9-11-2009 at 2:06 pm

    Loyal said...

    sounds like Drew needs medication.

    Is it really affecting these critics and bloggers because they see themselves on screen except instead of flying to fire people, they’re in an endless travel loop between film sets and festivals?

  • 5 9-11-2009 at 2:47 pm

    Clayton said...

    I’m keeping my expectations in check on this one. The reviews for Juno were a bit overly generous, and though I’m sure this is a very different sort of film, I’m just going to push it to the back of my mind until it’s released in theaters, and try to respond to it on its own terms. Not much of a traveler myself, so I may not relate nearly as much as others. That said, I quite liked Clooney in Michael Clayton (which is a bit formulaic, but still wildly underrated in some circles), so I’ll probably dig this.

  • 6 9-11-2009 at 3:15 pm

    Lance said...

    One of the themes of “Brokeback Mountain” is “move it or lose it”? Okay, well I guess so, but isn’t that an odd way to look at that movie. Maybe once I see “Up in the Air” I’ll understand what he’s talking about.

  • 7 9-11-2009 at 5:47 pm

    tim said...

    Peaking too early?

  • 8 9-11-2009 at 6:46 pm

    Sound Designer Dan said...

    Didn’t Slumdog have this type of hype at the same time last year?

  • 9 9-12-2009 at 12:27 pm

    leocdc said...

    Sound Designer Dan, I was thinking the same thing. Last year ocurred exactly this with SM and when I saw it I was with so many expectactions. The film did his job and I almost completly loved it, but when Oscar’s times came, I was so angry that SM would have won so many Oscars and other movies almost nothing (like my 2008’s top 1 Wall-e)
    If this movie is that great as they say I’m ok with it getting oscars (but 8!! come on!!)