Up: Slice of Life 24/31 #SOL20

Thomas has been asking to watch Up for the better part of a week. For reasons he cannot explain – but which he assures us are not merely to torture his brother – Eric has been saying no. Because we are trying to establish some sort of family togetherness or, at a minimum, some basic negotiation skills, we’ve been choosing films that “everyone” wants to watch. Thomas says that means Eric usually “wins;” even I have to admit that Eric’s sheer stubbornness means we watch quite a few of his choices.

Last night, Eric relented. Surprised, Andre and I relented, too. It was a little too late to start, and no one believed that the boys would “go straight to bed” without at least a bit of a read aloud. Work from home has started in earnest and we really had too much to do: Andre needed to clean the kitchen; I needed to create a lesson. “Fine,” we conceded, “you can watch the first 45 minutes while we work. Then it’s straight to bed!” The boys agreed happily.

But then we only have Disney+ on the upstairs tv, and they wanted to watch in the living room. The Amazon dongle wasn’t working for reasons we couldn’t quite fathom. I’d been doing IT support for the boys all day long and was near the end of my tether. Andre offered his phone, assuring us that he could live without it for 45 minutes, but somehow I was on the hook for remembering another password and Andre chose the wrong HDMI port. Thomas kept trying to help; Andre kept saying no; Eric refused to take part. By the time we got everything set up, we were all four on the couch in the living room, but no one was particularly settled.

When the movie finally started I looked at Andre and said, “Stay for the first part. I know how much you love it.” The opening montage, ten minutes that shows Ellie and Carl’s whole life together, engulfs us, and by the end we are holding hands and Andre is crying – he always does. The boys snuggle closer, not quite understanding, but not quite not understanding, either. Our battered old brown leather couch, pushed too close to the television, surrounded by our life in semi-unpacked boxes, holds our family in its embrace, and no one gets up. We just watch. Together. We laugh and talk, colours animating our faces, love animating our faces: a whole life in one short montage.

 

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12 thoughts on “Up: Slice of Life 24/31 #SOL20

  1. Your post is a glimpse into everyone’s real life where we are not quite able to get all the technology and people interactions to all work together all the time. At the end, I felt the peace your children (and you) craved – in a movie. Hope today is a good day – or at least on OK day – for you all!

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  2. I felt the chaos of trying to get everything tech organized and all settled into the movie only to realize it’s getting late. I chuckled at the familiarity and your dry wit. The move from chaos to peaceful family togetherness is seamless. A brief moment of all is well with the world.

    BTW: I’ve only watched “Up” once, but a former colleague swears it’s based of “Heart of Darkness.” I’ve never seen this idea articulated in writing anywhere.

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  3. What a nice family memory you’ve created. I am finding myself running around in a rush all day with nowhere to go. I’m determined to change that today. Your post is reminding me why!

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  4. Oh Amanda. I “wet my eyes”, as R has it, every single time I watch the opening (which is a LOT of times), and I am choked up now thinking of you guys all snuggled up. “Up” is one of those films that speak to adults differently than kids and really does have depth. I don’t know if it is “Heart of Darkness” deep, but there are some parallels for sure – dark, remote jungle, man protected by his loyal ‘army’, slowly going mad. Sounds like an English paper to me!

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  5. I think I want the togetherness part without the lead-up hassle, even while I recognize that the hassle is a major character here. This slice is a gift – with humor, honesty and tenderness, you let us all feel the tension and then its eventual release. I’m adding Up to our list of movie options. (Haven’t seen it yet.)

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  6. I remember the first time I saw that montage and being caught totally unaware by all the feelings it elicited. With that background knowledge, this line in your slice, I love: “The boys snuggle closer, not quite understanding, but not quite not understanding, either.”

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  7. This was such a fantastic slice. I cannot get over what a gifted writer you are!

    I loved these closing lines: “The boys snuggle closer, not quite understanding, but not quite not understanding, either. Our battered old brown leather couch, pushed too close to the television, surrounded by our life in semi-unpacked boxes, holds our family in its embrace, and no one gets up. We just watch. Together. We laugh and talk, colours animating our faces, love animating our faces: a whole life in one short montage.”

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  8. Your pieces are always structured so beautifully, Amanda, leading your reader where you want them to go. All the ups and downs and trials and tribulations lead us right into these amazing, wonderful perfect lines: “The boys snuggle closer, not quite understanding, but not quite not understanding, either. Our battered old brown leather couch, pushed too close to the television, surrounded by our life in semi-unpacked boxes, holds our family in its embrace, and no one gets up. We just watch. Together. We laugh and talk, colours animating our faces, love animating our faces: a whole life in one short montage.” You brought tears to my eyes and warmth to my heart. Wishing you more such moments and thankful for the gift of your writing.

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