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Monday, March 15, 2010

up

If you haven't seen the movie Up, you may want to skip this post. I don't want to ruin the plot for you. But do watch this movie (with your partner) and keep a box of tissues handy. You'll need them.

As I watched Up for the first time on Friday night, I never saw animated characters. I saw Joey and me. I was Ellie--the spunky, redheaded girl looking for fun and adventure. Joey was Carl--the quiet, dark-haired, lovable boy who I convinced to tag along for the ride. Two innocent kids who grew up, fell in love, got married, and who one day hoped to build a home together (in Ellie and Carl's case, on the edge of Paradise Falls in South America).

After the wedding scene, I smiled as Ellie and Carl lay together on a blanket outside, staring at the clouds and visions of happy babies. I sat quiet and still as they painted a nursery together and looked lovingly into each other's eyes. And tears rolled down my cheeks as I watched Ellie sob, face in hands, in her doctor's office, with Carl standing close behind her.

The scene that touched me the most was after this, when Ellie is sitting outside in a chair. Her eyes are closed and the breeze is blowing softly through her hair. Everything else is motionless, reflecting the immense pain that exists within Ellie's heart and is written on her face. It was the pain of her loss, but also the pain that she would never become a mother.

When this scene ended, I thought, "Well, that's it. I made it through the toughest part of the movie." After all, those who watched it said the film only briefly touched on the topic. But I saw something different. I saw infertility woven through the entire storyline: in the way Carl speaks to Ellie, in the way he is determined to fulfill a promise to her made so many years ago, in the way he is so bitter and cold to those around him, and in the way he looks at Russell as Russell describes the absence of his father.

Slowly, Carl's pain and anger begin to fade as he learns that the adventure Ellie had treasured most was not their missed trip to South America . . . it was their life adventure. It was everything they had experienced--the good times and the bad. It was truly the life of every infertile couple who never bears children: two people who love each other very much and who are unable to add to their family. But they are a family. They have fun and adventure, and Carl fulfills their dream of a house in Paradise Falls.

I know I will never get a chance to thank the people at Pixar personally, but I could not appreciate them more. For once, someone gets it. Someone has portrayed infertility with sensitivity and care. Someone understands what it's like to lose a child or be told you can never have a baby. Someone understands how bitter and pain-filled infertility makes a person. Someone understands how angry it makes you to watch as other parents do not value their children.

It's animated, but it's real. It's a sad, but beautiful story. It's the story of all of us who struggle to have children, who lose children, who live child free not by choice, but because we are unable to conceive.

It's our story.

24 comments:

Rebecca said...

That was absolutely beautiful and made me cry. You articulated everything I thought during Up and everything I couldn't figure out how to say.

This is a movie that shows that happiness is what you make of it.

Now I want to go see the movie again and have another good cry. :)

Stefanie Blakely said...

I cried my eyes out when I watched Up. It was a beautiful, beautiful movie and touched me so deeply.

Rach said...

Those scenes were so touching, and I also loved the movie overall.

I recently started a blog regarding our infertility if you would like to follow.

http://www.teseivf.blogspot.com/

Fertility Chick said...

I have to say, as I sit typing this in tears, this is truly one of the most beautiful, poignant posts I have had the privilege to read.

Thank you.

Jen said...

This was a beautiful post-very well written. You have a way with words :). I saw Up in the theater and loved it. It made me cry as well.

Basic Girl said...

I've have always totally thought you are an amazing writer, thanks for sharing this! I was a little nervous to watch it since I knew it dealt with IF, but after reading this I am going to force myself to go rent it.

Glass Case of Emotion said...

Thank you so much for summarizing so well, what I have felt for so long. Without really addressing it, they "got it" so well. I cried buckets in the theater, but it was worth it. It felt good to be understood.

The Baby Race said...

Up is a wonderful wonderful movie. It just hit so close to home and felt like watching our lives. Even through IF, they just loved each other SO MUCH.

The Millers said...

You said it better than I could ever...

arlnurse said...

Wow!!! I cried just reading your post, so I can imagine what the movie would actually do to me.

Al said...

I loved Up, we bought it. It was sad but also beautiful and heart warming that their love was so strong.

Kelly said...

Wow. I will never, ever watch that movie. It was almost too painful to read about.

(((HUGS)))

Erin said...

I sobbed in the theater when we went to see Up. Ironically, we went to take my mind off of IF. You are right, though. It's a beautiful tribute to the pain of infertility, and I'm so glad it's out there in a popular movie.

JC said...

I watched it Saturday night, and I saw infertility througout the entire movie too, not just the beginning. I thought it was a beautiful movie and done well. And this was a beautiful post =).

The Ashes said...

I have never cried so much during a movie as I did watching Up

erika said...

Up was a beautiful story. I don't know who wrote it, but in a way that person was talking to us.
I appreciated the re-assurance:
however much IF hurts, breaks our hearts and tears us apart again and again, we can still defeat it. We can still make life beautiful.
Sometimes (when I am down) I have doubts about that, but the movie was a good reminder that it was still true!
I love the characters in the movie. Ellie and Carl are such beautiful people.

S.I.F. said...

I totally cried when I saw UP, and my friends two year old could not figure out what was wrong with me!

Dawn said...

I haven't seen this movie, but think I want to now that I've read your post. Very beautifully written!

Waiting Lisa said...

I cried through the entire movie. Especially the part where he realizes the pages in the scrapbook that he thought were blank were actually filled in.

I cried again reading this post. I was not expecting to when I started reading, but then the tears just started flowing. Beautiful post.

Ashley said...

This was an absolutely beautiful post! I watched the movie and I too felt the exact same that you have just described. You just put into words what I was feeling, but couldn't put in to words myself. I agree that this is a great movie. But I think only those that have experienced the same or similar situations like infertility can really truly relate to it. Just my opinion though.

Wendy said...

such a great post. Watching UP caught me and my hubby by surprise, esp. in the first 10 mins of the movie. I wasn't prepared to cry but once I saw that scene when she was told there was no baby it just hit home so hard. It has a beautiful message, surprisingly for a Pixar animated film.

KSizzle said...

I know, I'm glad I watched the movie at home with DH and not in theatres because I cried so much we had to stop the movie.

I'm not even sure how I got to your blog, but I'm glad I did. This was a beutiful post!!

Nicole said...

completely agree. I LOVE this movie. I love that infertility is slowly coming out in hollywood. Have you seen Julie and Julia? It's a very minor part of the story, but there are a couple scenes that depict her aching for a baby and I especially love the one where she gets a pregnancy announcement and cries and screams in grief while simultaneously saying that she is happy for this couple and her husband just shh's her and says he knows.

Josey said...

Wow Katie - I was just scrolling through "older" posts (why don't you have an easy link so readers can easily get to the beginning of your story?) but anyway, I watched this movie in the theater when it came out...that is, the month BEFORE we started trying. I cried SO MANY TIMES in that movie, but I honestly just barely remembered that the whole opening was about IF. Then I read your post and started crying again...good lord. Time for me to rewatch that movie in the privacy of my own home I guess. Wonderful film...