Toy Story 4 is, like most films that cross my path lately, about a breakup. Set nine years before the events of the third film, we begin with a rescue mission. RC, Andy’s remote control car, is left outdoors during a torrential downpour with Woody (Tom Hanks) and the cadre of toys that inhabit Andy’s room hoping to make the save. They do, but not until they’re surprised by the realization that Andy’s sister Molly, meanwhile, is giving up her Bo Peep (Annie Potts) figurine. The toy’s placed in a cardboard box along with a potpourri of unneeded things and briefly left in the rain, as Woody breaks quota with another rescue attempt, only for Bo to accept her fate: Molly doesn’t need her anymore and she’s willing to move onto the next child. Not to be betrayed by Woody’s idealism, Bo’s capacity to move on, to embrace the unknown, and divorce herself from the vise grip of placidity and stagnation is something that Woody just can’t wrap his mind around. And it takes over a decade of disappointment and alienation for Woody to come to grips with his ever-fluid importance to both Andy and now, carrying on where we left off in Toy Story 3, Bonnie.
Toy Story 4 ends up becoming a film about the importance of a craft to one’s happiness, about the “existential agony” that comes with everything around you changing while you remain the same, and the messy mechanics of trying to force the past out of the present. As you’d imagine, it’ll mean a lot of things to different people, but most vitally, it just plain means something.Read More