With the approach of Pixar’s upcoming film, Inside Out, I wanted to take a look back at some previous Pixar movies. My reasoning behind this stems from the level of emotion I can already predict from Inside Out. The second trailer was recently released, allowing more of the story to unfold. These additional details spark additional emotions: Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust. Wait, those are the emotions centrally portrayed as characters in the new movie! Still, this movie is sure to tug on some heartstrings. On a similar note, I’ve compiled a list of the top five Pixar movies of the past that are most likely to make you cry.
The entire repeated concept in the Toy Story trilogy of toys being forgotten or left behind is enough to give a person weepy flashbacks to childhood, but a few characters’ specific recollections throughout the films really have an impact. One of these occurs in Toy Story 2 when Jessie shares her heartbreaking backstory with Woody through Sarah McLachlan’s song “When She Loved Me”. In a little over two and a half minutes, the audience witnesses the build up of love between a young girl and her doll that quickly turns to abandonment in adolescence. Maybe it’s just me, but it’s hard to keep the tears – and the guilt – at bay while watching some parts of this movie and thinking about the toys from childhood that I’ve come to part with over time.
As with many of the Pixar films, Finding Nemo has a primary theme of growing up. But we see this from the perspective of both a father and a son. I understand Nemo’s need to be independent, but Marlin’s reactions give such insight into the emotional level of having to let a child grow up. The beginning of the movie increases this intensity when we get a firsthand view at why this father clownfish is so afraid of letting his son go. In one of the most potentially tearful scenes, we witness this terrifying barracuda ravage their sea anemone home, killing Coral and every single egg…except one. And in those following moments, Marlin promises his surviving son that he “will never let anything happen to him…Nemo.” He fulfills Coral’s last wish and forever bonds his life to that one remaining egg.
In a movie about one little robot out on his own, trying to clean up a wrecked Earth, there’s bound to be some tears. Pixar deserves serious applause for creating this effect on viewers with the two main characters as robots who don’t even communicate through words for the most part. Many scenes in this movie can lead to crying. For instance, how about every time EVE or WALL-E have something wrong with them and the other robot says their name in that painstakingly anxious tone? The tone itself chokes me up. In addition, there’s the moment when it seems that Wall-E has been reset and he’s not going to hold EVE’s hand. I’ve been waiting all movie for WALL-E to get to hold her hand, and it might not happen?! But then he does, and then some people just might cry. And finally, when EVE watches her internal recording and sees everything that WALL-E did for her while she was not active, and the world knows that he is just the sweetest little robot on any planet or ship that ever existed.
It’s no surprise that Toy Story 3 made the list considering how well known it is for its tear-jerking moments. Like Toy Story 2‘s scene where Jessie shares her backstory, Toy Story 3 also has one of the most heartbreaking flashbacks to toys being forgotten or separated from their kids. I’m referring to Chuckles the clown’s retelling of how Lotso, Big Baby, and himself disconnected from Daisy, the little girl that owned them. It’s already a sad story that only gets worse with Lotso’s descent into evilness as he yells at Big Baby and Chuckles, saying that Daisy has replaced all of them. The movie also includes the tragic incinerator scene when the toys are prepared to face certain death, and they hold hands and accept it. And finally, of course, there’s the ending when Andy gives all of his toys to Bonnie. And we see the toys that we’ve come to know and love in the hands of a new kid – a new owner – and we can only try to hold in the tears and hope that their adventures continue on happily.
Without a doubt, the unforgettable montage of Carl and Ellie’s marriage at the beginning of the film has the great potential to make an audience cry. Within the first ten minutes, we fall in love with these two characters and witness their lives as they grow old together, but then we also see the heartache of Ellie’s inability to have kids and then Carl’s pain at her funeral. Pixar really hits the emotions straight on with this one. Other potentially tear-jerking moments include the scene later in the film when Carl opens up Ellie’s “Adventure Book” and notices for the first time that she filled out the rest of the book with the adventures of their life together. This gives him the inspiration to keep going even when he feels like all hope is lost! And finally, the ending could also pull some tears as Russell stands alone – stood up once again by his father – at his badge ceremony, only to be saved when Carl shows up to pin on his “Assisting the Elderly” badge. After the greatest adventure, they have come to fulfill irreplaceable roles in each other’s lives.