I went to see Pixar’s latest movie UP tonight and it really is as good as all the reviews have said. The film follows septuagenarian Carl, played beautifully by Ed Asner, who following the death of his beloved wife, one day decides to literally take off to find adventure, by tying thousands of balloons to his house and lifting it into the sky. Inadvertently recruiting a wilderness scout named Russell, Carl travels to South America to find Paradise Falls, the place he and Ellie had always dreamed of, finding plenty of adventure along the way.
I expected the movie to be funny, but what I didn’t expect was how deeply moved I would be by the very real human emotions it portrays. It realistically depicts a life time of love between the main character, Carl, and his beloved wife Ellie, and his loneliness after her loss. It offers us a reflection on the nature of dreams, how easily childhood dreams slip through our fingers as life takes over. But it is a four-minute, dialogue-free montage near the begining of the film that traces the entire relationship between Carl and Ellie, which for me is the most moving and memorable part of the entire movie. Film critic Kenneth Turan called it ”a small gem that will stay with you for a lifetime”. This is intensified by an emotive music score by Michael Giacchino which tugs at the heartstrings throughout the film.
The clips of Carl and Ellie going on picnics, dreaming of their South American adventure, then dreaming of the many babies they will have, heart breakingly losing their unborn child, growing older together, sitting side by side in their reading chairs. Their savings jar for their trip to Paradise Falls is used for life’s every day expenses – car and house repairs and by the end of the montage, Ellie and Carl have lived a long, happy life together, but never took that trip.
Throughout the film, we see Carl lovingly handle Ellie’s childhood scrap book of adventures she plans to take, but in the end never did. But by the end of the movie and in another very touching scene, we are forced to re-evalute the everyday pleasures which might constitute life’s biggest moments and adventure. Along with Carl, we too learn, that we don’t need to take off for life’s biggest adventures – they were right there all the time.