Up In The Air Character Analysis

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Up in the Air Character Analysis: Ryan Bingham

Up in the Air directed by Jason Reitman tells a story of American values in the 21st century and the underlying desires behind the façade of a successful yet consuming career. The protagonist Ryan Bingham, played by George Clooney, works for a corporation that is hired by executives to fire employees so that they don’t have to experience the uncomfortable confrontation and emotional aftermath themselves. He’s charming, witty, quick thinking, independent, meticulous, and most importantly, emotionally detached. He travels all over the country approximately 300 days per year and as a result hasn’t had the time to form any stable relationships with friends or family. He leads himself to believe that he doesn’t need anyone else to rely on and that he is perfectly content with a nearly empty apartment and empty relationships. His career holds a higher value to him than falling in love, making friends and commitments, or even being with family. He has no goals other than to do his job and to be the 7th person to reach the 10 million frequent flyer miles in order to attain the executive status and the satisfaction that comes with having that elite status.
During one of his travels, Ryan meets a woman named Alex who turned out to be like the female version of him. They hit it off and continue to see each other despite the differences in their travel schedule. At this point, Ryan’s company hires Natalie Keener, a young, smart, recent graduate of an ivy-league school, who came up with a seemingly efficient plan to fire people via computer conference calls which would reduce travel expenses and help employees avoid the uncomfortable confrontation. Ryan’s career and constant traveling is the only life he knows and he is resistant to the idea of having his job replaced by a new program that would force him to virtually fire people and keep him on the ground.
Many changes began happening in Ryan’s life and he had to learn to

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