Society & Culture & Entertainment Radio & Television

Pixar"s "Up" on Respecting the Elderly

It was a bold move for Pixar, making an animated movie about a 78 year old grouch.
What kid wants to watch an old widower gripe and complain for two hours? But the movie proved to be an instant classic, even earning an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture.
In case you have not seen it (and you really should, you know), the story features Carl Frederickson, a 78 year old balloon salesman who has just lost his beloved wife.
The audience gets to watch their relationship unfold at the beginning of the film in a moving 5 minute montage that included, of all things, problems with infertility and a miscarriage.
But their relationship remains so strong and charming that even in their gray years they appear to be full of life and passion for one another.
The movie really begins when Carl wakes up alone after his wife dies.
At this point, kids aren't watching a grumpy old man anymore.
They are watching an interesting, sympathetic character full of passion, desiring adventure, but holding only sadness.
"Up" is not really about a flying house, or an adventure in a South American jungle with talking dogs and a homicidal explorer.
No, it is layered story about the relationship between a hopeless old man and a friendless young boy.
Carl, you see, is living in the past.
His old house is a virtual shrine to his late wife.
Every chair, every picture, every book is a monument to her memory.
And it holds him back from really living.
And Russel, the awkward nine year old wilderness explorer, is hardly living at all.
Both are desperate for real human interaction, which they eventually find in one another.
Will kids catch on to the theme that real adventure is found in relationships, no matter what package those relationships come? Maybe only subconsciously.
But I'm not sure a person can walk away from this film without admiring the elderly a little bit more than before.
Here's hoping for more films like this.
Children need the wisdom of their grandparents, and the elderly need the warmth and laughter that children bring.
Because life is all about relationships.
I wish I had seen this movie before I wrote off my aged grandparents.
I found out too late that their years of love, sacrifice, and dedication were worth my attention and admiration.
Perhaps this movie can help our kids not to make the same mistake.

Leave a reply