Lessons from Kids Movies-UP

As the holidays approach, I encourage you to take a break from all the business and spend some time just making memories with your family.  One memory that sticks in my mind is my husband and I taking my niece and nephews to go see the movie UP when it first came out.  As cute and funny as it is, there are some important lessons that we as adults need to remember—in fact, there are too many to even write about!

UP (Disney Pixar)

The movie is about Carl, a balloon salesman, and wife Ellie, a zookeeper.  We get to see them together as children, married, and then going through the stages of growing old together.  Carl and Ellie have a love of adventure and dreamed about going to see Paradise Falls in South America.  Sadly, Ellie passes away, leaving Carl alone, bitter, and without purpose.  He refuses to change although the world around him is constantly getting bigger and faster.  Eventually at the age of 78, Carl is moved into a nursing home.

Carl decides to escape, goes to his home, and ties what appears to be hundreds of helium-filled balloons to his house.  He is going to fly his house to Paradise Falls.  Unfortunately and fortunately for him, a little neighbor boy named Russell and his dog Dug are on the front porch and become stowaways.  From here Carl gets to experience an adventure he never could have imagined, all while filling a void in Russell’s life as well.

Some of the most important lessons in the movie are from Carl and Ellie.  They have a glass jar labeled “Paradise Falls” to save money for this adventure.  However, we see them have to take from it constantly to pay for a flat tire, repairs to the house, etc.

The two are never able to fulfill their dream of visiting Paradise Falls together because they let work and obligations get in the way.  Making it to Paradise Falls gets neglected and lost in the shuffle.  How many times do we do this with our own goals?  What a good reminder to all of us to stop putting our dreams off—we are never guaranteed tomorrow!

Once Ellie dies, Carl struggles to find meaning in his own life without her.  When he is put in the nursing home, he becomes inspired by a scrapbook that Ellie had made of their adventures together.  Ellie writes at the end of the book “Thanks for the adventure-Now go have a new one!”  This lights a fire under Carl, and he shows us that life doesn’t end just because you are older.  You are never too old to accomplish your dreams!

There are many, many more life lessons you can learn from UP, so I encourage you to watch it if you haven’t—or re-watch it if you have!  It’s a great family movie full of laughs and insight.

Keep reading tomorrow for more lessons from kids movies!  :)


Written by Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW

Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group.  Christy enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling.  Christy also provides family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling.

Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.