Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Up Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Pixar's stunning adventure is an upper for everyone.
  • PG
  • 2009
  • 98 minutes

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 242 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 244 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Meant to entertain, but might inspire an interest in travel and adventure.

Positive Messages

Carl and Russell become good friends and teach each other about responsibility, caring for nature, and the movie's main theme about "the spirit of adventure." Loyalty, grit, teamwork, and creative thinking are also themes. 

Positive Role Models

Strong role models for multi-generational friendship and a successful marriage. Young Ellie befriends an otherwise lonely young Carl; they become best friends and later a married couple. He takes care of her after she grows ill, and he embarks on a journey to fulfill a lifelong dream of theirs. Russell is a spunky, determined kid. Characters demonstrate integrity, empathy, and gratitude.

Violence & Scariness

There's some mild peril from thunderstorms hitting the house, and a sad sequence that shows Ellie sick in the hospital and then Carl in a funeral home, surrounded by flowers. Both a real gun and a tranquilizer gun are fired at various characters. A house gets set on fire. Younger kids might be scared by some 3-D images that jump at them from the screen, as well as Muntz' dogs, which sometimes appear seemingly out of nowhere, growling and angry. Muntz tries to get rid of Carl and Russell, even if it means trying to kill them. One character falls to his death.

Sexy Stuff

This movie is part of the Disney-Pixar dynasty, with merchandise and other marketing tie-ins associated with the film.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Two adults drink out of champagne flutes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Up is the second Pixar movie (after The Incredibles) to receive a PG rating, mostly due to a few potentially frightening scenes involving a band of trained talking dogs trying to get rid of the protagonists, some moments where characters almost fall from a floating house, and some guns firing. That said, it's Disney/Pixar, so the violence is mild. Viewers should note that an early wordless sequence follows an emotional and potentially upsetting trajectory that could trigger questions about old age, illness, and death.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byRachel M. May 26, 2020

A Gentle Introduction to Reality

When I watched this as a child, I could understand love, the death of the wife, sadness of a widower, and a growing bond that healed a sad man. As I got older,... Continue reading
Adult Written byMario Z November 25, 2009

A movie that neither kids nor adults will enjoy

We watched with our 4 year old daughter. We had to fast forward through 85% of the film as there were so many scary chase and adult issue scenes (wife dies, get... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byJustino4 April 23, 2011

Guns from Pixar

This movie is good for PG. G would be too soft for this Pixar movie due to the violence that is given during the "final battle" of the movie. A gun? S... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old July 28, 2009


I loved this movie it was AWESOME!!! But it was kinda sad when Ellie died because my name is Ellie. :(

What's the story?

In UP, septuagenarian Carl Fredricksen (voiced by Ed Asner) and his wife Ellie had a shared dream since childhood: to visit exotic Paradise Falls in South America, a place the once-famous explorer Charles Muntz (Christopher Plummer) claimed was the most beautiful in the world. After Ellie dies, Carl decides to make his beloved late wife's dream come true and unveils hundreds of helium balloons to fly his house to Paradise Falls. Unbeknownst to Carl, a young Wildlife Explorer scout named Russell (Justin Nagai) is along for the ride. When they finally arrive, the odd couple discovers that Muntz is more interested in killing an elusive rare bird than living in paradise.

Is it any good?

Pixar has brought to life a multi-generational odd couple in a film that's visually stunning, surprisingly touching, and unsurprisingly delightful. After nine films, Pixar's legend is well known; it's the only studio with a perfect record both commercially (each of its releases has grossed more than $150 million) and critically. Up is no exception on the latter front, and considering the demand for family entertainment, it's sure to be a big hit money-wise, too.

The beginning of the film is an unexpected tearjerker following the entire marriage -- from first sight to widowhood -- of adventurous-at-heart Carl and Ellie Fredricksen. But he bulk of the story, as the trailer promises, is Carl and Russell's amazing skyward journey to Paradise Falls. Above the gorgeous and colorful animated vistas, Pixar's astonishing achievement is the sweet, funny, lasting relationship that it's odd-couple heroes share.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Up's central relationship between Carl and Russell. What does the movie have to say about multigenerational friendships? What does a young boy teach an elderly man, and vice versa?

  • Kids: What kind of adventures do you dream of having? Does an adventure need to be somewhere far away? 

  • How do the characters in Up demonstrate empathy and teamwork? What about integrity and gratitude? Why are these important character strengths?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animation

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Themes & Topics

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