Universal acclaim - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. Reviewed by: Stephen Farber
    It's rare for a movie to be at once so biting and so moving. If Ryan's future seems bleak, there's something exhilarating about a movie made with such clear-eyed intelligence.
  2. 100
    Up in the Air takes the trust people once had in their jobs and pulls out the rug. It is a film for this time.
  3. 100
    Up in the Air is also optimistic about the perpetual themes that preoccupy so many movies that endure the test of time: Life is better with company. And everybody needs a co-pilot.
  4. 100
    One of the year's best films and so tapped into the zeitgeist that it's positively scary.
  5. Ryan may not be admirable, but Clooney makes him relatable. It's his deepest and nakedest performance.
  6. Reviewed by: Amy Biancolli
    Crisply funny and fleetly paced, it's in its quiet way one of the saddest things in the theaters all year.
  7. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Timeliness can be tricky to pull off convincingly in movies. It's tough to capture an era while it's still happening, yet Up in the Air does so brilliantly, with wit and humanity.
  8. 100
    A smart, alert, supremely entertaining movie.
  9. Up in the Air may not end up as the best picture -- that will be decided by the Academy -- but it has landed in the middle of the discussion because it's laser-focused and right on time.
  10. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    This is smart, silky, sensitive, and funny old-school movie magic.
  11. Up in the Air is light and dark, hilarious and tragic, romantic and real. It's everything that Hollywood has forgotten how to do; we're blessed that Jason Reitman has remembered
  12. 100
    Up in the Air makes it look easy. Not just in its casual and apparently effortless excellence, but in its ability to blend entertainment and insight, comedy and poignancy, even drama and reality, things that are difficult by themselves but a whole lot harder in combination. This film does all that and never seems to break a sweat.
  13. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Reitman's blend of comedy and drama, romance and social observation make Up in the Air the ideal movie --- and maybe even a cure -- for the Great Recession blues.
  14. This is a movie about, among other things, pain, and it's made by someone who understands its expression.
  15. Up in the Air is poised to be a smash, and Clooney--slim, dark, perfectly tailored--glamorizes insincerity in a way that makes you want to go out and lie.
  16. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    There hasn't been a studio movie as unapologetically adult, sophisticated, and nuanced as Up in the Air in some time.
  17. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    The timing in the Clooney-Farmiga scenes is like splendid tennis, with each player surprising the other with shots but keeping the rally going to breathtaking duration.
  18. The best of Up in the Air--meaning most of it--is right up there with the fresh and sophisticated comedies of Hollywood's golden age.
  19. 88
    One-word reaction: bravo.
  20. 88
    Reitman brings the same mixture of comedy and drama to this movie that he brought to "Juno."
  21. 83
    For much of its going, Up in the Air moves with the same refreshing pace and attitude that marked Reitman's "Thank You for Smoking" and "Juno" -- with the added frisson that the subject matter is so torn-from-the-headlines that it feels, in a good way, like reality TV.
  22. Perhaps it's no surprise that Reitman has come out with a lovely Hollywood romance that floats buoyantly along on a sea of sadness.
  23. If Steven Soderbergh taught Clooney how to act in "Out of Sight," then Reitman has taught him how to stop acting. This is the most vulnerable, the most playful, the most human performance of his career.
  24. One of the pleasures of Up in the Air is that its actresses share the frame with Mr. Clooney as equals, not props
  25. 80
    The film is a hybrid. Its backdrop is despair, but the foreground action has the silvery zest of a comedy.
  26. The middle is terrific, especially in a lengthy, unassuming scene in which the three leads sit, sip drinks, and have a good chat: It marks one of the great celluloid pleasures of the year, so virtuosically written, performed, and filmed is it.
  27. Farmiga has never been better than she is here. Rarely does she get to do comedy, and she and Clooney give Up in the Air's sustained air of engaging disengagement a heartbeat as well as a romantic charge.
  28. 75
    At its best, Up in the Air invents new realms for old Hollywood sophistication.
  29. Reviewed by: Michael Mariani
    A smart, brisk, but extremely thoughtful hybrid of star-vehicle and resonant depiction of right-now America.
  30. As for the implicit tragedy amidst the funny business, the swelling ranks of the unemployed, the movie has no solution but instead offers itself as implicit solace: Escape, ye wretches, into my clever humour and my nifty dialogue and my star's considerable charm.
  31. 75
    What Up In The Air lacks in surprises--apart from an elusive final scene--it compensates for by conveying the pleasures of living from landing to landing, and the terror of floating away.
  32. 70
    Reitman deserves credit for going through with a bitterly ironic ending, but the movie is marred by its warm condescension toward flyover country.
  33. 50
    Comes off not as topical but as opportunist. The picture is brushed with a fine glaze of slickness, a product sealed in a blister pack. It's like airplane air -- it has a packaged freshness that isn't really fresh at all.
  34. 50
    Up in the Air goes down like a sedative. This is a movie that's easy to like--and to dislike as well.
  35. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Full of clever one-liners, winning performances, and wistful indie music. It's impossible not to like it, which is precisely what's so annoying about it.
  36. Reitman, who also cowrote the screenplay, feels the constant need to "deepen" his characters, granting them wants and motivations--especially during the moralistic third act--that are totally alien to how they're initially portrayed.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 430 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 42 out of 187
  1. Sep 15, 2011
    What "Up in the Air" wants us to do is not to watch in boredom equipped with popcorn, but to understand the emotion and the characters the movie has to present to us. Full Review »
  2. Jul 23, 2013
    How is this movie so well liked? George Clooney and Vera Farmiga's characters are just completey unlikable and the story almost literally goes nowhere. The most interesting character was Zach Galifianakis' character who appears for less then a minute. Full Review »
  3. Mar 16, 2012
    One of my favorite films ever, is amazing, incedible, emotive. And the better... the cast, Anna Kendrick, Vera Farmiga, George Clooney, are amazing. The story can be sad, but the film is fantastic. Up in the Air is a classic. Full Review »