‘Toy Story’ was the movie that launched Pixar into the conglomerate it is today. ‘Toy Story’ itself has four feature films to the franchise with another rumored to be on its way. But did it have the same impact as Pixar movies today?
We love Pixar movies for always having more parallels to the human experience than meets the eye. That’s why so often, Pixar movies make adults cry. For example, Toy Story 3 was released right around the time I, like Andy, was leaving home for college. My mom couldn’t help but turn on the waterworks.
But what about Toy Story (1995) tells a story beyond the toys? Well, before we get into what I’m calling the “unspoken truth,” let’s discuss a more commonly spoken truth.
Andy has a strange attachment to his toys.
Even in Toy Story 3, when Andy is on the brink of adulthood, Andy struggles to part with them, and only does so once he’s found a worthy home.
Andy is particularly fond of Buzz Lightyear, and nearly bound to Woody. So now I ask, why? Could it be because an astronaut space warrior and a cowboy sheriff are both characterizations of sensationalized masculinity? I think the answer is yes. Because the unspoken truth about Toy Story isn’t a statement of fact, it’s a question.
Where is Andy’s father?
Frankly, it appears as though Andy’s father left. It’s theorized that the first Toy Story takes place during Andy’s mom and dad’s divorce. Neither Andy nor his mom mention him, and there are no signs of him around the house ei. photos on the staircase or mantle. If he died, there would likely still be signs of him, and maybe sentiments of missing him from Andy or his mom. There are none. This could also be the reason why Toy Story takes place during a move to a new home.
We can also assume that it’s a recent break up since Molly is just a baby, assuming they’re of the same father (which I don’t think you have to, because Andy seems pretty used to it just being him and mom). And I hate to say it, but it could also explain why she opts to take him to Pizza Planet for no apparent reason. I mean, he just had a birthday party. Pizza Planet looks like a whole lot of fun.
The poignant parallel in Toy Story isn’t that we all eventually outgrow our toys, it’s that Andy is being raised by a single mother. Why should that matter you ask? It doesn’t! And it’s BECAUSE they never draw attention to it, that it’s worthy of our praise. Toy Story is a testament to all the single mothers out there that made it just fine on their own. It normalizes a family structure that had doubled in the decades leading up to Toy Story.
Between 1980 and 1990 the number of single mothers in the US shot up 4.6%. Between 1990 and 1995, when Toy Story was released, the number had increased another 5.3%, to a staggering 16.47 million single mothers in the US, higher than today’s statistic.
Usually every film that features an absent or dead parent, a stepparent or legal guardian, it’s integral to the plot and to the characters. Not in Toy Story. In Toy Story, Andy’s mom is the only parental figure in Andy’s life, and that’s perfectly normal.