The actual clip, for those who haven’t seen it:
There is something incredible about a movie that can make you cry in its first ten minutes. Most movies have over ninety minutes of content in which everyone involved in the production end–writers, directors, actors, producers, and others–works to try and connect the characters to the audience. And yet here in Up, they achieve the same result before the movie’s story even begins, by sneaking in a self-contained side story. Carl could have spent the rest of the movie puttering around his house, and we would still remember the movie for its opening. This is a very interesting example of the length and depth of the scene required to provoke an emotional reaction.
Personally, I thought Up was a pretty amusing movie, but not that memorable. I had no strong emotional reaction to any other part of the film. After the many months since I watched it last, I can’t even remember the ending clearly. In contrast, I will remember my response to this opening montage for the rest of my life. I am willing to bet that, if not for that scene setting the tone of the movie and creating a hook for people’s emotional reactions to the film, the critical acclaim would have been more muted than it was. I’d like to look at this scene, out of context from the rest of the film, because I think that it generates its powerful sentiment completely on its own.
This review turned out much longer than expected, so I’ve broken it up into pieces. If you’d just like to read the takeaway lessons from this scene, please go on to the next page for the TL;DR version. Everything after that consists of more detailed summary and analysis. Feel free to leave a comment if you have anything you’d like to add!
- How the Married Life Montage Makes People Cry
- A Descriptive Summary of the Clip
- Minimal Character Backstory
- The Themes and Content of the Story
- Audiovisual Storytelling Elements
- Contrary Views