Up is Even For 11-Year-Old Boys

What Women Really Think
June 15 2009 11:18 AM

Up is Even For 11-Year-Old Boys

Proof that, as Emily says, Pixar's Up is for everyone : I took 10 11-year-old boys to it for my son's birthday, a little nervously, hoping an animated movie involving helium balloons wouldn't seem childish. At least some of them have seen their share, now, of James Bond and Family Guy and Austin Powers and South Park and whatnot. Sitting behind them, I watched their riveted, upturned faces as, in between fistfuls of popcorn, they absorbed the emotional montage of the couple's life together, including the brief but harrowing scene of the pregnancy loss.

My son worried afterward that it was a little downerish for a birthday party-not your usual laser tag, or even Transformers -but overall they seemed to really like the movie and were affected by the sequences that Emily and Meghan described. One of my son's friends reported without embarassment that he started to cry during the montage portion. This was reported as he and the others were dashing around the outside movie plaza firing little discs from disc-firing guns (I know, it's awful that I bought them, but CVS didn't have enough water pistols, which I guess are also taboo in some households, though not mine) from his goody bag. I like these boys, unafraid of the sensitive side of their nature. It did seem a little too bad that, as is so often the case in movies and children's stories, the death of a central female character (usually a mother; here a wife) provides the catalyst for adventure, and my daughter complained afterward that there weren't enough female characters. (The only other one we could identify was the bird.) I do look forward to the upcoming Pixar movies that actually, finally, feature females. Fodder, perhaps, for a 12th birthday party, unless by that point the boys insist upon something by Judd Apatow.

Liza Mundy is the director of the Breadwinners and Caregivers Program at the New America Foundation and the author of The Richer Sex.

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