Flying Solo: Mobility in Up in the Air

  • Isabel Treviño Universidad de Zaragoza


This article analyses the film Up in the Air (Jason Reitman, 2009) to explore one of the ways in which mobilities are reflected in twenty-first century cinema. The film’s main character, played by George Clooney, is presented as a hypermobile traveller that is constantly “on the move” and that has adopted a rootless, nomadic lifestyle that enables him to move at will. Combining contemporary critical theories on mobility with close textual analysis, this article examines the specific type of mobility embodied by the film’s protagonist, based on weightlessness and incessant, frictionless movement, as well as the effects that large-scale mobility has on people’s identities and on the ways in which they relate to other people. As will be argued, the protagonist’s mobility is portrayed differently as the film develops, calling attention to the shortcomings of the highly mobile way of life in the contemporary world.Keywords: Up in the Air; mobility; mobile elite; mobile intimacy; George Clooney; gender

Author Biography

Isabel Treviño, Universidad de Zaragoza
Isabel Treviño is a PhD student at the University of Zaragoza. She holds a degree in English Studies and a Master’s degree in Textual Analysis. Her main interests are Film Studies and Cultural Studies, with a focus on mobility, gender and intimacy. Other research interests include globalisation, cosmopolitanism, space and borders. She is currently writing her PhD thesis on the representation of female mobility in 21st-century cinema.


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