Boo! Hoo!

I was sad not to actually cry my eyes out to Toy Story 3. If I hadn’t read all the advanced publicity and, frankly, hype, about grown men being reduced to tears, I wouldn’t have gone in with that expectation, and would have been happy enough just to be entertained and, toward the end, choked up a bit. But I went into the Curzon and strapped on my 3D glasses with the certainty that I would cry all over the inside of them. And yet … I didn’t actually release tears from my willing tear ducts.


I like a good cry. To a film, obviously. I’d rather not be sad enough in my own life to have to cry. But when some actors act a sad thing, it can make me cry in a safe and purging kind of way. I expect it’s my age. But I don’t care. Surely ducts must be sluiced out every now and then to keep them clean? It’s how the body works. And some of those ducts are activated by the mind. I was once on a talking-head countdown programme – no, really, I was – called something like The Greatest Tear Jerkers Ever (I can’t be bothered to look it up on the IMDb), and I described the saddest thing I have ever seen on television, which is the bit where Rolf Harris comforts a quite hard looking man whose gorgeous dog is going to have to be put down by a vet on Animal Hospital. I welled up a bit while describing it. I would well up if I saw it again now, or indeed had to describe it in any detail.  Rolf cried. The quite hard man held his back. I cried on his behalf. Actually, I’ve realised that seeing a man cry is more likely to make me cry than if I saw a woman cry.

Anyway, in Toy Story 3 – and this can surely require no SPOILER ALERT – Andy grows up and goes to college. This is what the story is about. He is too old to play with his toys any more, and that’s where the action springs from. Grown men have been crying at it – and grown women, but grown men are more likely to hold their tears in, like the quite hard man in the vet’s – because it speaks of the universal experience of time passing and the loss of childhood. This must be incredibly poignant, and painful, for parents who have either seen a child off to college or into the wider world, or have a child who is approaching that age. (I know my mum was very upset when I left for college in 1984, even though she had spent the entire year previous moaning about me and shouting at me.)

There is a bit near the end – a simple enough exchange – that tugs hard at your heartstrings. It tugged at mine. I felt a lump in my throat. But the cascade of hot tears never came, and frankly, I want my money back. I had sat in the bar of the Curzon before my screening, watching the patrons of all ages leaving, and I examined the eyes of all the adult males. To be honest, it was hard to see if they had been blubbing or not. Some of them looked red-eyed, but they had been looking through stupid 3D glasses for an hour and a half. Clearly, kids aren’t likely to cry at anything that hints at loss or sadness or the passage of time as they have yet to experience any. When I interviewed the creators of Up, they said that young audiences were not touched or moved by the death of an elderly character early on, or by the intimations of loss and regret, but by the bit where they think the bird is killed, or the dog is lost. I loved that insight.

By the way, Toy Story 3 is brilliant. Impeccable. Stunning. Funny. Sad. Thrilling. Inventive. Multilayered. It’s as good as the other two, and that’s a pretty amazing end to keep up. (Shrek, by contrast, goes up and down over its four installments.) But do not go in there with any preconceptions about the emotions it may or may not prick in you. It’s entirely possible to love it and still leave the auditorium with the only dry eyes in the house.


13 thoughts on “Boo! Hoo!

  1. Might the reason you weren’t that moved be that you aren’t a parent? Given that it’s a metaphor about your children leaving you behind as they grow up.

  2. Andrew, you should listen to the podcast of last weeks Mayo and Kermode where Dr Mayo read out an email from a listener who was a new Dad and had gone to see Toy Story 3. Mayo choked up, Dr K was the quietest I have ever heard (or not heard in this case!) and I was blubbing like a baby. If that doesn’t make you cry you’re a hard man!
    I know what you mean about the movie though, I think the crying thing has been hyped up too much. I cried a little at the very end but only a little and no more.
    It is still a sumptuous movie though, a delight from start to finish…I love Rex! Nice to see a cameo from Totoro too, he didn’t have much to say though did he?! 😀

  3. She’s Leaving Home has been making me at least well up since I was seven or eight. But maybe just the music was doing it back then, I don’t know.

    Funnily enough the only bit of TV that’s ever made me really cry was watching an old couple having to give consent for their very old dog to be put down in a Channel Four documentary about twenty years ago

  4. The made-for-TV Karen Carpenter Story made me cry once but I didn’t believe the hype about Toy Story 3.

    I liked the film. A lot. But the only danger of my eyes welling up would’ve been as a result of wearing 3D specs on top of my normal glasses in a dark cinema after three days of tireless entertaining of a five year old. She didn’t cry either but was most concerned during the “hot” scene near the end.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the film, as did my daughter, but I couldn’t help feeling that maybe I had missed something by not sobbing.

  5. Weirdly, I bawled my eyes out at the end, but my girlfriend didn’t even get a bit glassy. I dumped her immediately.

  6. I must be the only person that does not like Toy Story 3 in anyway shape or form. (I didn’t like the first two either). But that’s okay as it seems Andrew is the only person that doesn’t like Inception.

    (I don’t really fancy inception much either)

  7. I didn’t like the first 18 Police Academy films. Or the 19th.

    You see, the thing I don’t get is why anyone would pay to see a film called Inception. A jazz “piece”, maybe. A bit of mood music, perhaps. A terrible, terrible poem, if it were in a very, very slim volume. But a movie?

    Am I alone in thinking you should judge a film by its pretentious, hastily conceived, uninformative, and ultimately vapid title? Yes, I suspect I probably am.

  8. I’m looking forward to seeing this film. dno’t cry often in movies, but two films get me every time.

    Thelma & Louise – the end scene, and the scene towards the end of the magnificent “This Boys Life” when Leonardo Di Caprio has realised he has escaped his stepfather (Robert De Niro) and jumps in the air screaming with joy..

    Even thinking about it makes me want to weep!

  9. I usually cry at the drop of a hat.

    Up had me blubbing twice, hell, even Finding Nemo gets me misty eyed.

    This one didn’t make me cry but it did make me slightly guilty about my old toys in my mum’s loft.

    I hope Action Man, Nookie Bear and the rest of them are OK up there….


  10. Pingback: The Emotional Buzz around Toy Story 3 | Flickbook

Do leave a reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s