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Review: Bring All Your Tissues to Pixar’s Onward

5/5 unicorns.

Tom Holland and Chris Pratt voice characters in Pixar's Onward.


**Spoilers for Pixar’s Onward but also Chris Pratt spoiled part of this movie, so yell at him.**

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Pixar movies have a way of taking your heart and jumping up and down on it until you feel like you can’t breathe through your tears—or, at least, that’s how I felt watching Onward. Whenever I thought to myself that I was okay and that I wouldn’t cry anymore, the movie took a turn, and there I was, sitting in my tears, just hoping I didn’t have mascara running down my face.

The Dan Scanlon film focuses on two brothers: Barley (Chris Pratt) and Ian (Tom Holland). Elf brothers who lost their father before Ian was even born, it’s only been them and their mother, Laurel (Julia Louis-Dreyfus). From a world where magic once existed, the brothers now live in the modern world, where they’re more concerned with the simplicity of life, and magic has all but died out.

Most beings forget the glory they once had and are resigned to normal jobs. So, when Ian gets a “gift” from his dead father, both Barley and Ian are confronted with the fact that their father believed in magic and what it could do, and gave them one last chance to see him.

The problem? The spell gets messed up, and they wind up with only their dad’s legs. So, Barley and Ian begin a quest to find another Phoenix Gem in order to complete the spell and see their father for one last day. As I’m getting ready to write about the heart of this movie, I’m crying again, and maybe I don’t want to tell you because I want you to go see it for yourself, but knowing that children will make fun of their crying adult companions, I’ll warn you. (My nine-year-old niece is going to make fun of me, and I’m okay with that.)

Throughout their journey, the idea of Barley being a screwup comes up multiple times, and Ian agrees, to an extent. While Barley is obsessed with magic and the world as it used to be, Ian is more interested in seeing their father, even though he’s the one with magical abilities. In the end, though, what they really accomplish on their quest for their father is strengthening their bond as brothers—a true gift.

At its heart and soul, Onward is a movie about family and relationships. There’s a bond between siblings that is a different kind of connection. The way I am with my brothers is completely different from how I am with other people, and Barely and Ian show that bond beautifully.

Onward may have taken my number one Pixar spot and I’m not ashamed to say it. It’s an emotional roller-coaster with heart, soul, and adventure and I can’t recommend it more.

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh.

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