The cartoon that made me cry


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 deep 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.

However, for me, one brief scene in this montage was almost too much to bear, and I felt the tears slide down my face while watching it.  The young Carl and Ellie are pictured lying on the grass looking up at some clouds and the cloud formations become babies. They smile and each other and the next scene in the montage is of the couple glowing with happiness as they paint the nursery for their new arrival. So far so predictable. I sat there expecting the next scene to be a smiling Carl and Ellie complete with beautiful baby. But, instead, we see Ellie, head in hands, sobbing as she is comforted by a doctor in a stark clinical hospital scene, as Carl looks helplessly on from a distance. While Carl and Ellie go on to live a long life of loving togetherness, they remain childless, and the brilliance of this film, is that my heart ached for two cartoon characters….and ached for those of us who know this heartbreak too.


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. cat
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 02:36:06

    Me too! I bawled my eyes out for the first 10 minutes as it seemed to sum up where my life is heading without children. Funny this is that I’d chosen this movie to cheer myself up and jolt myself out of a depressive day. I didn’t expect to cry, but in connecting with these characters and finally seeing the infertility plight illustrated on screen, I felt peaceful.


  2. iamstacey
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 05:37:53

    It broke my heart, too. You just never know where IF will turn up and catch you off guard!


  3. Lily
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 08:22:35

    Marie, beautifully written post. I now have to go and see the film.


  4. JBBC
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 10:33:36

    Cat and Stacey, so glad I wasn’t alone in bawling my eyes out at this movie! Lily, it is a wonderful film, you will really enjoy it and I will be looking forward to reading your review of it!


  5. Lorna
    Oct 26, 2009 @ 18:15:51

    I’d read your review on your other blog and wondered how you felt when you mentioned them not having children.

    Well done to the directors/writers etc for including such a sad and honest portrayal of what life can be like for some, I look forward to seeing it.


  6. Trackback: 2010 in review « Diary of a Miracle

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