There’s a scene in Up In the Air that I can’t get out of my mind.
It’s the one where George Clooney (who plays a guy named Ryan) falls into the ocean.
I think falling into the water was symbolic and ironic. Usually, falling into the water makes one think of baptism. In this case, I think it’s about being “lost in the sea.” Ryan falls into the ocean and he is alone. Sort of. He’s got the fake representations of his family with him.
Also, what is Ryan doing? He is doing his younger sister Julie a favor by taking pictures of her and her fiance in a place they won’t have a chance to see. But to do this, Ryan has to be away from his family. The fact that he is doing something for family yet AWAY and exiled from his family has irony written all over it.
More detail + context of the scene:
I think this scene is the climax of the whole movie. Natalie, his protege, is asking him about whether or not he has thought of having a future with Alex, a woman he has been sleeping with and with whom he eventually fell in love. Ryan doesn’t admit to loving Alex and says they have a “casual” relationship.
They are on a boardwalk while they are having this dialogue. Ryan is holding up cardboard/paper cutout of his younger sister Julie and her fiance because they want to see the world together but can’t afford it. Irony: Ryan (George Clooney) and Alex can see the world together and have this ability to but can’t come to that commitment while Ryan’s sister Julie and her husband have each other but do not have Ryan and Alex’s means to travel the world. I think it means that you can’t have everything in life (love ties people down but the alternative is that you have “a world” with someone) and that it sucks to have all the independence come down to fake relationships.
Couldn’t find a clip of this scene. In the screenplay, it’s the section under “Ocean Boardwalk, Miami-Day.” In this clip, Anna Kendrick talks about portraying Natalie in the movie. Fun fact: she also played Scott Pilgrim’s older sister in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.