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I read this morning about a new movie that'll be debuting at the Toronto Film Festival, which starts on September 10. It's called Up in the Air, based on the 2001 novel of the same name by Walter Kirn. The movie, directed by Jason Reitman of Juno fame, stars George Clooney as—who else—management consultant Ryan Bingham, who specializes in the jargon-heavy area of "career transition counseling," or, in other words, firing people. (If companies aren't wary enough of having consultants walk through their doors to … strategize … I'm sure this movie will work wonders to inspire confidence.) What makes Clooney's character even more lovable is the lofty goal that he's trying to attain: accumulating ten million frequent flyer miles.
I haven't read the book, but I can only hope that the movie carries over some of its literary jewels, like this quote from Bingham himself: "Business is folk wisdom, cave-born, dark, Masonic, and the best consultants are outright shamans who sprinkle on the science like so much fairy dust." Who could argue with that?
Billed as a satire of the corporate world and all the follies that go along with it, I'd say Up in the Air has Oscar Winner written all over it. It's high time consultants had their time in the spotlight (and having Clooney and Reitman on our team doesn't hurt either).
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