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Up in the Air: Good for Women

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I went to see Jason Reitman's new movie, "Up in the Air" over the weekend and was impressed by the strong writing, acting and directing. It was so timely, too! An Oscar contender for sure! None of this is news. What is news is that this story about a man's struggle with his fear of commitment and roots turns out to be good for women.

It's incredibly refreshing to watch the two stellar female leads, Vera Farmiga as George Clooney's love interest and Anna Kendrick as his co-worker. First of all, Farmiga is an age appropriate match for Clooney (in real life, she's 36; he's 48 and their characters seem about the same). She's attractive in a grownup, classy way that matches his hotness--a departure from the Woody Allen school of casting. Farmiga and Clooney's characters appear to be on equal footing professionally, staying in the same hotels and renting the same cars on the corporate account, but she's got a BMW and townhouse at home and he's just got a bare studio apartment. I don't want to give too much away, but let's just say in an unpredictable plot twist, she ends up in the power position more often assigned to men in real life and in the movies.

Kendrick is a 24-year-old wunderkind from Cornell who brings tech savvy and innovation to Clooney's company. When their boss, played by Jason Bateman, put his hands on Kendrick's shoulders in a moment of praise I groaned inside, bracing myself for a B story about them having an affair. But no! There's nary even an office flirtation involving her and she even gets in a crack at Clooney, calling him old. And, when she's feeling most vulnerable, she takes advantage of a random guy after a boozy night out.

It's a nice change of pace from the other worthy Oscar contenders about women who emerge strong after being taken advantage by men like "An Education" and "Precious."