I had heard that this was an emotional film. I had heard tales of grown men weeping in cinemas while watching. I am not someone who normally cries at television, film or books. The last time a film made me openly sob was Titanic back in 1997. I expected to be moved - the Toy Story films are moving - but I did not expect to be moved to tears.
I was wrong.
As soon as the film started and I saw how few toys were left, I was worried. When I heard that Bo Peep had been given away - leaving Woody without the one person who always believed in him - I knew that things were different this time. It was serious. The way they were so desperate to get played with - the way Slink's ears were slightly worn at the edges, the way you could see the shine had been rubbed off Buzz's buttons - it all spoke of time passing. I honestly didn't know if they'd include Buster, because it had been so long and he might be dead. But they turned that into a funny moment, when Woody called him and I thought I don't think he can run any more, Woody and then he comes around the corner, all grey and podgy. It was funny but it also made me sad because it seemed like yesterday that he was a waggly, happy puppy. And the objective of the film had changed as well. It wasn't about getting back to Andy any more. Andy didn't really need them. Yeah, he was taking Woody to college with him - but let's face it, Woody wouldn't have been played with there. He would have been a mascot, a security blanket. I think this is what he realised at the end of the film and why he decided to go back to Bonnie and take the others with them. My jaw dropped open when they started sliding towards the fire, by the way. They aren't seriously going to kill them, are they? I mean, I know this is Pixar, but they're not going to INCINERATE them? I thought. And then I thought, This is a KIDS film... because what I was watching disturbed me! I didn't want kids watching this. I was so relieved that they were rescued by the aliens, giving that small nod to Toy Story 2.
From the moment that Andy picked up Woody and put him in the College box, I felt the tears well up. By the time he drove to Molly's house, they were dripping down my cheeks, because he was moving on, and even though Bonnie would take wonderful care of them, they would never really see Andy again. And then Andy played with them one last time. I loved how he introduced Bonnie to each of them, and the fact he still remembered every single toy. I just wish we knew where Bo and Wheezy had gone.
My mind is still a puddle of awe from watching this film. It took a while to set up but I knew that was going to happen because it was important to establish the concept of the film and the implications. I loved the investigation of the subconscious and what it would be like if you could live in dreams. As Dumbledore said: "It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live." (Well, you'd know, wouldn't you, Albus? After what your dreams did to your family.) Cobb's fear of his subconscious, his refuge in drugs in order to escape his mind and the lurking guilt which took the form of his dead wife, it was brilliantly psychological, so Freudian but not misogynistic. Of course, I adored Arthur and Eames, the two opposites, but I think Ariadne was my favourite. She was smart, inquisitive and determined. If it hadn't been for her, Cobb would never have confronted his fears. That's why Miles said she was better than Cobb - because she had the courage of youth, the ability to face fear. I kind of want to see it again to take it all in.