Movie Analysis: Up in the Air

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PSYC 2101
Spring 2014 –
Reflection Paper #3
“Up In the Air”
Ryan Bingham works as a “Termination Facilitator" for Omaha based Career Transition Counseling (CTC), a company who specializes in corporate downsizing. Ryan has flown around the United States over 320 days of the year (leaving "forty-three miserable days at home”), which he feels is the best part of his job. He does whatever he can to rack up frequent flyer miles; the goal is not to use them but just to accumulate them to a specific number which he later reveals as 10 million miles. As a secondary job he gives motivational speeches on relieving one's life of excess physical and emotional baggage (clutter) using his “What’s in your Backpack” method. He truly does believe what he promotes as he lives out of his carry-on suitcase, he is not close to his siblings (until he does favor for his sister’s wedding while on his travels), nor does he have or want a significant person in his life. During a trip, Bingham meets Alex Goran; she is a woman who appears to be his gender-opposite equal. Bingham and Alex meet in dreary hotels and making love without thinking anything of it. It’s not until Bingham is paired with Natalie Kenner on a job that his life and outlook changes.
Bingham lives his life but the motto “moving is living”, he does not like being tied down to one thing, house, city or people. Bingham struggles with personal relationships and commitment. He believes the more relationships and ties you have the more your life is weighed down and illustrates this by saying “Make no mistake; your relationships are the heaviest components in your life. Do you feel the straps cutting into your shoulders?” during one of his speeches. Bingham secludes himself intimately and emotionally but defends that notion by saying that he is constantly around people in the airport and hotels every day. He also holds a reputation of marriage from what he has seen from the outside and tells Natalie “How many stable

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