UP – The joy of the generation gap

Posted: June 7, 2012 by Emilio Garofalo Neto in Uncategorized
By Ivonete Silva*
UP is a movie in which adventure begins when it seems that all is gone and nothing more is worth living.

Carl Fredricksen, a shy seller of balloons, built a house and a life with Ellie, his childhood friend and wife. After Ellie’s death, and about to go live in a retirement home, Carl decides to live his wife’s old dream, to have a house in the waterfalls of Venezuela. He binds uncountable balloons to the house and flies away in his floating house. But things were not as simple as planned (!). In this adventure he had the help of Russell a boy scout committed to caring for nature; Doug, a talking dog and Kevin, an exotic bird. I am sure that most people spent boxes and more boxes of tissues watching this spectacular movie and I am one of them. There are several lessons: Nonattachment to the past, the value of monogamy, etc. I want, however, to highlight the friendship between Carl Fredricksen and Russell.
A kind of “youthful spirit” hovers above our times. Everything that is young is hyper valued and even older people are advised never to “lose their youthful heart.” Art, entertainment, architecture, cinema, and music are, mostly, geared towards young crowds. This creates a gap of generations. That is why this aspect grabs my attention in the movie. Between Carl and Russell there are likely 70 years of difference. Carl is a cranky, selfish old man worried about his stuff. All he wanted was tranquility to spend, the little time he had left, in the place dreamed by his wife. Russell is a child willing to help Carl. His interest to serve is praiseworthy! Even if all is done initially only because of the badge, for that shows the commitment this rose cheeks boy had for his scout group. The help went further than Russell had planned; who trying to find the birds that supposedly bothered Carl was taken in the porch of the flying house.
Truth is that Russell becomes interest in Carl’s things and dreams, after unwillingly joining him—and they face great adversity together. When noticing Russell’s concern for him, Carl realizes he can and should also be interest in Russell’s goals, which throughout the movie are basically rescuing the bird Kevin.

This interaction of generations is the most beautiful element in the movie. Different ages, different interests, living the same adventure. I used to attend a church in which we had the gratifying experience of youth learning in the same class as the elderly. We got much criticism at first, people would say that the methodology for teaching a young man is different than to teach an elderly man, that the groups do not speak the same language, that dealing with the elderly would require patience, etc. In the end, those studies together were very edifying.

Young folks learned to be patient and serving like Russell; they learned to hear the same story several times, how to deal with the bad mood of some elderly folks, got to learn about new interests, help them with Bible reading and annotations, besides learning from their wisdom and vast life experience. Indeed there is great honor in a grey head (Prov 16:31). The elderly were also enriched, comprehending the dilemmas of the youth, not to overvalue their own generation, understanding that each age has its own sins and difficulties. We need this interaction displayed in the movie. We need like Russell to go above and beyond our duty. Paul taught us that in the church we are called to honor, respect and interact among ages, with the older people as if our parents, with the others as if our brothers and sisters (1Tim 5:1,2). Carl did become a father for Russell in several ways, while Russell became the son he never had. We must be humble, patient and learn with the others, this is one of the greates adventures of “real life.”


*Ivonete has degrees in Theology and Pedagogy. She is currently working in a master’s degree in philosofic theology. She lives in the city of São Luís, Brazil, and is married to Rev. Allen Porto, teaches at the local seminary and coordinates the children’s ministry in her local church.

  1. […] bem, minha esposa, Ivonete Porto, escreveu uma avaliação do filme “Up! Altas aventuras”, e o post foi parar por lá! Com tradução para o inglês pelo Rev. Emílio, o material foi […]

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