Making Grown Men Weep
Grown men are staggering out of Disney/Pixar newly released Toy Story 3 wiping tears from behind their 3D glasses – igniting a discussion in on-line chat rooms and around water coolers about just what it is about Buzz Lightyear’s latest cartoon adventure that is making men cry. And is it ever OK for men to cry in public?
Britain’s Daily Telegraph reports the story line of the movie – 17-year-old Andy packs up his toys as he departs for college – has struck a note of empathy with many men seeing a boy let go of prized possessions.
The first sign that Toy Story 3 was going to be a rollercoaster for men came with the critical notices.
Critics Confessed to Blubbing
American reviewers confessed in print to blubbing. Owen Gleiberman, critic atEntertainment Weekly, wrote: “When it comes to my reaction to Toy Story 3, I’m not just talking about shedding a tear or two – I’m talking about that soppy, awkward thing where you make sounds.” The Washington Post predicted that Toy Story 3 “will bring adult viewers to that Disney-approved point of smiling even as they weep openly”.
For many men, sentiment is compounded by the nostalgia that 21st-century toys are far more state-of-the-art – and less imaginative – than Hamm the piggy bank, Mr Potato Head and Bullseye the horse.
New York clinical psychologist Dr Peter Kanaris, said Toy Story 3 is really touching men in ways they hadn’t expected.
“A real man is supposed to be strong and not have these kinds of feelings. But touched by the memories of toys, leaving home and a loss of innocence, men are crying freely.”
The notion that animated films can impart emotional truths more effectively than their live-action equivalents is supported by Timothy Dalton, the former James Bond actor, who lends his voice to the hedgehog thespian Mr Pricklepants inToy Story 3. “What’s great about animation is that everything has such a strong emotional base, in a way that you never could have with people in a live-action film.”
The reason, according to Jeffrey Wells, author of the influential movie blog Hollywood Elsewhere, is that it is a love letter to how Americans like to see themselves.
“Toy Story 3 is all about the constants we’d like to have in our lives – loyalty, love, standing by our friends, and caring for those close to us. I
“It’s telling us what we want to believe in ourselves whether it’s true or not. It’s delivering in a very persuasive and cool way an agreeable, comforting myth about who we are.”
Tell Us What You Think
It will be interesting to see if the movie has the same effect on men outside of the US as it is given general release around the world. Have you or your man seen Toy Story 3 yet? Did it make you cry – and can you understand what was so touching about it if it did? We’d love to hear what you think.