By Pete Docter, Bob Peterson and Thomas McCarthy

You know what’s not supposed to work? Flying to South America by tying balloons to your house. Also unlikely: an animated film starring a crabby 78-year-old whose backstory, presented onscreen with grinding clarity, consists of loss, mourning and a sense that life has passed him by. If that still sounds too easy, try adding those most dreaded of sidekicks: a plucky child and a frolicking endangered animal. Oh, and killing the love interest 12 minutes into the first reel. I don’t know how they managed it, but Pete Docter, Bob Peterson and Thomas McCarthy threw away the rule book. And “Up” was my favorite film of the year.

Glen David Gold wrote the novels “Sunnyside” and “Carter Beats the Devil.”

Filed Under:

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more