Up is one of the most romantic movies of all times. Yes, you heard me right. An animated movie for children is one of the best romantic movies of all time. At least, the beginning. If you didn’t get a lump in your throat watching the montage, then you didn’t cry when Old Yeller died. It’s a Wonderful Life also is a romantic movie, showing what true love should be in our marriages.
Up has a similar theme to It’s a Wonderful Life. In Up, the wife longs for adventure; in It’s a Wonderful Life, the husband, George Bailey yearns for it. Carl Fredricksen, the husband in Up, regrets he never gave his wife the adventure she craved. George Bailey regrets never living the life he had planned. He further feels disappointment in never giving his family what he thinks they want.
At one point Mr. Potter tells George Bailey, “Look at you. You used to be so cocky. You were going to go out and conquer the world. You once called me ‘a warped, frustrated, old man!’ What are you but a warped, frustrated young man?” In Up, Carl Fredricksen has also become warped and frustrated. George Bailey plans to solve his frustration by committing suicide; Carl by escaping in a balloon-driven house to South America. Both have their plans derailed. At the end, Carl discovers his wife viewed their marriage as the wonderful adventure she desired. He learns life is too precious to fill it with regrets. Similarly, George learns not to regret the life he has lived; he now knows he is living a “wonderful life.” Both men discover it is our family and friends who enrich our lives—not things, not money, not even “adventure.”
If we are living our lives “warped” and “frustrated,” we need to get where God wants us to be, to the right place, surrounded by the right people. And we might already be there. Adventure, happiness and contentment are in this moment, this moment God has allotted. We must release the balloons and let them fly where they may. Instead of the empty promises of the balloons, let’s grasp God’s promises. And those promises in our wonderful lives will lead us up.