Love, Adventure, and Selflessness: Lessons We Can Learn from Disney-Pixar’s UP

Up is one of my favorite Disney-Pixar movies. I love it so much.

Exhibit A.

The first ten minutes are so beautiful and heartbreaking; I cry every time. The idea of a house being carried away by balloons is simply whimsical and so creative, and this entire movie redefines what it means to have an adventure. It’s soundtrack acts as glorious study music, and the characters are so incredibly lovable.

Up really has taught me so much, and it has reminded me of some loved ones in my own life.

Let’s talk about the relationship between Carl and Ellie. I believe Disney-Pixar has captured the perfect romance in this animated movie–whimsical and magical with a realistic touch. I love how there love was founded on their thirst for adventure as little kids, and I am so happy that Ellie is so rambunctious and energetic. The fact that their relationship is told entirely through a scored, silent montage is brilliant and provides the perfect backdrop for the audience’s heartbreak.

We can learn so much from Carl and Ellie’s relationship: love can be founded on friendship and on similar interests, adventure can be found through day-to-day activities, and the little things–such as sitting in adjacent chairs while reading and sweetly holding hands–can mean everything. I think people can get carried away in thinking that love stories have to be chock full of grand gestures.  In reality, the most beautiful love stories are filled with simple moments carried out with great love.

The best part of Up is near the very end. Carl flips through the “Adventure Book,” expecting to be disappointed by the empty pages he would surely find. Instead, he finds pictures that Ellie had placed in the Adventure Book documenting their life together. On the very last page, Carl discovers Ellie’s parting note to him:

“Thanks for the adventure–now go have a new one!

Tears. So many tears.

I think I love this so much because Carl and Ellie’s relationship reminds me so much of my grandparents’–I call them “Bo” and “Lille.” Bo, my grandpa, passed away from a brain tumor back in 2005. My grandparents met when they were in junior high, and were together ever since. Their love was based on those sweet little things that matter so much, and they both worked together to make every day–be it ordinary or special–a grand adventure for my sister and me.

I also saw Ellie’s attitude in my Bo; he reminds me so much of the woman who captured Carl’s heart–his exuberant spirit is so much like Ellie’s. He had so much fun in his daily life–he was a classic “bull sh*tter” (excuse my French) and tried to make every day a joyous one. I have so many awesome memories of my Bo; he would dance in movie theaters as the credits rolled, hold impromptu “parades” at our birthday parties, and hold last-minute free-throw shooting contests with ice cream at stake (we inevitably won the sweet prize every time; Bo loved his ice cream). He made sure that his loved ones were taken care of, even when it was his time to leave us. He was passionate about what he did, and he didn’t take a day for granted. He loved Lille, he loved my mom, and he loved my sister and me with all that he had.

He wanted us to have adventures with him; but he wanted us to have them even more so after he was gone.

He made this known to my mom and Lille. He wanted us to live life to the fullest, and he wanted to make sure he did everything in his power so that we could do so after he was gone.

This is why I think I love Up–Carl and Ellie were so devoted to each other, just like my Bo and Lille. Bo is the Ellie of the bunch; he did everything in his power to make everyday an adventure. What he wanted more than anything, however, was to see his loved ones have an adventure themselves, just as Ellie wants Carl to “have a new one.”

Let’s learn a few things from Carl and Ellie, and, subsequently, from my Bo and Lille.

Find love in the little things that someone does for you. It doesn’t have to be romantic love–take note of the way your sister does everything in her power to make you happy, take note of your mom’s constant pin-sending (you know: Pinterest), take note of your grandma’s consistent phone calls. That’s love. Roses are not required.

Find adventure in the mundane. Ellie (and Bo) knew the importance of this. Life won’t be a series of big moments; life is a series of little moments strung together. We must find the fun in it all, the adventure that awaits in every new day.

And, last but not least, look for ways to make the people you love happy. Ellie left that note knowing it would give Carl some peace; she encouraged him to continue finding new adventures. That’s not selfish. She (and my Bo) knew that selflessness was the most important thing, especially toward the people you love.

So. “Adventure is out there!” Take the lessons you learn from Up and apply them to your daily life. Always remember to make the people you care about happy, find adventure and joy in the little things, and always check under the porch for snipes.

They certainly are tricky little buggers.

I got this lovely shirt at Hot Topic.
“Adventure is out there,” my friends! Now go and find it.

3 thoughts on “Love, Adventure, and Selflessness: Lessons We Can Learn from Disney-Pixar’s UP

  1. Kaila. This is th most beautiful words I’ve ever read. I’m so very proud of u and I know Bo is too thank u for such a insightful understanding of our love for each other & our love for you, your sister, and your mother. I will always cherish this beautiful expression of love from you. Love u, Dawlin’ , Lil


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