Q: What virtues or wisdom is at the heart of a movie like Up?
A: Up is primarily a love story and, in my assessment, one of Pixar's most touching films. It's about a man, Carl, who has lived much of his life with his childhood sweetheart, Ellie. Together they shared a dream of one day visiting Paradise Falls in South America, but when Ellie dies, that hope is gone, leaving Carl as a stereotypical grumpy old man. Out of his love for Ellie, Carol decides to make the trip anyway, albeit in an unorthodox and fanciful way by flying his entire house across the world. Like all Pixar films, Up is about relationships, in this case the deep bond between a husband and wife. As the foundation of Christian ethics, love is one of the three so-called theological virtues (the other two are faith and hope) and, as such, demonstrates in some way the kind of love God has for us and desires us to have for the world. Love for God and for others is very much at the center of Christian ethics.
Up is also about friendship. There is, of course, the friendship in a marriage relationship, but also the friendship between Carl and the young boy, Russell. We sometimes can get so focused on our Christian lives that we forget the power of friendships beyond our comfort zones. But if we look at the pages of the New Testament we see Jesus befriending people of all kinds.