Friday, March 18, 2011

Dream Big , Live Simply , Love Unconditionally : Life According to "Up"

 **Note: This Blog May Contain Spoilers of the Movie, "Up"**
(But seriously, if you haven't seen it yet, get to it!)

I know I'm not alone when I say that every time I watch Disney-Pixar's movie, "Up", I cry my eyes out. Most of these tears happen in the first 20 minutes of the movie when it introduces Carl and Ellie and subsequently documents their love and life in the most beautiful cartoon montage I have ever seen. Sure, the movie has it's silly moments and moments that are mostly geared toward kids, but at the heart of it all there is a touching story about what is most important in life. Here are just some of the things that resonated with me, personally, while watching this charming movie:

Up and Dreams
  • Dream Big: Moving your entire house to a different country by tying a zillion balloons to the roof and floating there? Sure, why not??
  • Never Give Up on Dreams: Carl and Russell encountered some pretty harrowing challenges on their mission to Paradise Falls, but they never gave up and eventually succeeded.
  • Sometimes Dreams Change: This is shown very cleverly during the life montage in the form of a coin jar. Their first dream was to have children but when this did not happen, they decided to focus on living at Paradise Falls. The couple saved up for their South American dream and then had to break the bank when they needed new tires, had a medical emergency, storm damage to the house, etc. Sometimes life just gets in the way and you have to go with it.
  • Share Your Dreams: As shown in both Carl and Ellie's relationship as well as Carl and Russell's, it is easier (and more fun!) to accomplish your dreams when you share them with others, support each other, and work together to achieve them.

Up and Simplicity
  • Simple is Good: Carl and Ellie are never shown in a giant mansion, or shopping for expensive items. They live in a simple house, one that meant a lot to them from their childhood. They enjoy simple pleasures like going for picnics in the park or reading side by side. The "experiences" are valued more than the "stuff".
  • Stand Your Ground: When Carl was slowly being run out of his home by the big business developments around him, he refused to leave. When he was finally forced to leave, he still did not give in and instead decided to move his simple life someplace else. When the world seems to get more and more complicated and materialistic, hold tight to the simple things that mean the most.
  • Things Do Not Equal Love: Toward the end of the movie, Carl was forced to throw all of the items out of the house in order to save his new friends. Some of these items were extremely sentimental including his late wife's belongings, photos, and their chairs that lovingly sat side-by-side. It was this gesture that pointed out that although they held great emotional value, these things were still just things and that the people in Carl's life were more important.

Up and Love
  • When Life Gets Hard, Love Harder: When Carl and Ellie lost their baby and later in life when Ellie began to get sick, they embraced each other tighter, leaned on each other longer, and loved harder than ever. When bad things come your way, surround yourself with love to get through them.
  • Keep Your Promises: When the pair meet when they are just children, it is then that they decide to move their "clubhouse" to Paradise Falls. At the time, this seems like a childish pipe dream but Carl crossed his heart and delivered on his promise as an elderly adult.
  • Let Love In: When Carl first met Russell, he was a grumpy curmudgeon who hated the world. He loved Ellie with all his heart and with her now gone, it was as if joy itself had left his life. But after lots of persuading, and likely against Carl's own will, he started to open up and found love in a different form through Russell. Life became an adventure again, proving that even when you have completely given up, just letting a little bit of love in your heart can positively change your whole outlook.
  • Love Unconditionally: This is shown in many ways through each of the characters but my personal favorite is through Dug, the talking dog. Some of my favorite lines of the whole movie come from him including, "I was hiding under your porch because I love you" and "My name is Dug. I have just met you, and I love you." While his dedication is shown in a silly light, at the core of the Carl-Dug relationship is genuine, unwavering, unconditional love.
Have you seen "Up"? What did you think? Perhaps there is another movie that affected you in unexpected ways just like "Up" did with me. I'd love to hear from you-- please don't hesitate to share!

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