It’s no question that Pixar has made some of the most emotionally devastating films of all time. They give us all the feels, and they are unrelenting with their efforts to turn us into sobbing babies.
The first time I remember knowing that Pixar and I would have a long relationship filled with heartbreak was when I watched Toy Story. Today marks 20 years since the release of the film, and it still gets me just the same. The original along with the two sequels can lift you up and tear you down within a matter of minutes. In honor of the anniversary, here are some of the most emotional scenes from the trilogy. Get your tissues ready, it’s not gonna be pretty.
Woody gets replaced by Buzz Lightyear
There are two kinds of movie plots that get me in the feels every time—a story of unrequited love, and a character feeling like they’ve been replaced by someone else. This can be in the form of an ex starting a new relationship or the way a dad feels walking their daughter down the aisle. When I see these, it’s game over. I’m an emotional wreck. So even though Woody isn’t really replaced by Buzz, the fact that he thinks he will be, still breaks my heart.
Buzz finds out he’s just a toy
Buzz prides himself on being a planet-saving space ranger; it’s his whole identity! So when he sees a commercial for the Buzz Lightyear action figure, he is completely defeated. He tries to prove the commercial wrong by taking flight, but he falls from the air landing at the bottom of the stairs. Everything he thought he knew was a lie. Where are the Kleenex?
Woody is shelved for a broken arm and finds Wheezy
Much like Buzz, Woody thinks of himself as strong and heroic. While Andy is playing with him his arm gets ripped, and he’s placed on a shelf only to find other broken toys that were never played with again. Wheezy is a penguin who got put there for a broken squeaker. Instead of having it fixed, Andy’s mom puts him in a box for a yard sale. Oh, Andy’s mom, you’re killing me!
Jessie shares her backstory
In Toy Story 2, we’re introduced to a rootin’ tootin’ cowgirl named Jessie, who, like Woody, was shelved before her time. Woody describes his relationship with Andy, which causes Jessie to tell the story of her old owner, Emily. Jessie tells Woody “she was my whole world” before Sarah McLachlan comes in to destroy us. “When She Loved Me” plays during a montage of Jessie and Emily having fun, and eventually Emily growing up and giving Jessie to charity, and all the while, I’m quietly sobbing.
Lotso shares his backstory
Much like Jessie, Lotso had a loving home before ending up in the daycare. He and Daisy were best friends until her parents accidentally left him outside away from home. Determined to get back to Daisy, he finds his way to her house, but it’s too late. She’s already replaced him with another Lotso like it didn’t even matter!
Andy goes off to college
The Toy Story trilogy culminates in what we all hoped would never happen—Andy grows up. He has outgrown his toys, and he’s going off to college. There’s a really touching scene between him and his mom that reminded me all too well of the goodbye I had with my parents when they moved me into my dorm. There’s also a scene where Andy decides to give his toys to another little girl. He takes the time to tell her to take special care of Woody, letting Woody know how important he was to Andy. Everyone in the theater was crying by this point. Toy Story, we love you.
[Image via Pixar]