Carl is a reserved old man who, by a series of impulsive actions, will be removed from his house. It’s the very house he shared with Ellie, the love of his life who has since passed. He cannot stand the thought of leaving so he attaches hundreds of helium balloons to his house to take off. He accidentally takes a young boy scout Russell with him. They end up in the colorful Paradise Falls, where Carl and Russell get wrapped up in a dangerous adventure.
Voices of Ed Asner, Jordan Nagai, and Christopher Plummer. Directed by Pete Docter.
The opening scene tackles the theme of death. This is the driving force of the movie and may be intense for very young viewers.
Why You Should See It:
Much has been said about the opening scene, a montage with no dialogue that shows the passing of time for a happily married couple. Life happens: a barren womb, a broken leg, sickness. Still they dance at night, go on picnics, and save money for a trip to South America. Carl realizes too late that they’ve abandoned their planned vacation. He feels he has failed his wife. It hurts Carl enough to be embittered, isolated, regretful, and we see Carl sliding down a machine on his stairwell, then striking the machine when it doesn’t work. It is a moment of anguish against the house that is now his emotional tomb. There is not much greater pain than letting down your loved ones.