After their former owner goes off to college, Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks) and the gang find themselves with a new kid called Bonnie (voiced by Madeleine McGraw), who loves them dearly. Bonnie has a shaky start to her first day of school, but Woody is there to help her. He sees firsthand how much her craft creation, Forky (voiced by Tony Hale), means to her.
When Bonnie’s family heads off on a road trip, Woody dedicates himself to safeguarding Forky, although he still believes Forky is a piece of garbage who keeps trying to throw himself away. When Forky falls out the window, Woody goes after him. On their way back to the camp site, Woody and Forky find their way into an antique shop. Here they’re pursued by an antique doll called Gabby Gabby (voiced by Christina Hendricks) and her many vintage ventriloquist henchmen. Woody is given to a little girl while Forky is taken hostage.
When Woody fails to come back to the other toys, Buzz (voiced by Tim Allen) sets off to find him. Jessie (voiced by Joan Cusack) and the others stay with Bonnie, who’s devastated at Forky’s disappearance. Meanwhile Woody encounters his long-lost friend Bo Peep (voiced by Annie Potts) who, with the help of Buzz and some new friends, agrees to help them rescue Forky from Gabby Gabby.
When the rescue plan backfires, the characters are all forced to decide what’s most important to them, whether this is family, friendship, adventure or belonging. They soon come to realise that they can each make a difference, no matter which path they choose.
Abandonment; finding your identity; separation from friends; hurtful rejections; the idea that if you fix what’s wrong with you, you’ll find love or acceptance
Toy Story 4 has some violence. For example:
- There’s frequent animated violence including lots of falling, bumping, kicking, grabbing, hitting, restraining, throwing, near-miss landings and so on.
- Ventriloquist dummies chase, grab and restrain Woody and his friends.
- Buzz smashes into an amusement park ride, gets hit with a door and finds himself strapped to a carnival prize wall. A plush duck repeatedly kicks him in the head.
- An elderly lady is repeatedly attacked by two plush animals. The scene is imaginary, but the two stuffed animals attacking her face and knocking her around is clearly shown.
- A cat rips open a toy and severs its body. Bo Peep later has a conversation with its head while the lower half of the body lies elsewhere.
- Bo Peep’s sheep loses a leg when they fall trying to escape from the antique shop.
- Woody’s voice box is partially ripped from his body.
- Gabby Gabby is thrown away by the one child she has always hoped would love her.
- The toys hijack a car and haphazardly ‘drive’ it to a carnival.
- A motorcycle figurine hits his head on a target, and his helmet is knocked off.
- Two plush toys shoot lasers out of their eyes and fire from their mouths. The scene is imaginary but graphic.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
There is some use of substances in Toy Story 4. For example, in an imaginary scene, two plush toys see an older woman relaxing in a bubble bath with a glass of red wine.
Nudity and sexual activity
The following products are displayed or used in Toy Story 4:
- The movie features Barbies as well as Mr and Mrs Potato Head dolls.
- Many of the main characters have already been made into merchandise, and there are numerous new products based on this movie, including lots of Lego.
There’s no coarse language in Toy Story 4. There’s one use of the word ‘idiot’. Also, a father makes some angry frustrated sounds when he discovers that he has a flat tyre. His wife ushers their daughter away saying, ‘Daddy’s going to say some words now …’. But no coarse language is heard.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Toy Story 4 is an animated adventure, rumoured to be the final instalment in the very popular Toy Story series. It’s a good family movie, and it will appeal to younger audiences as well as fans of the earlier movies.
The main messages from this movie are to listen to your inner voice, to be there to care and comfort others and to find your purpose in life, whatever that might be.
Values in Toy Story 4 that you could reinforce with your children include loyalty, teamwork, compassion, friendship, persistence and courage.
This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about the importance of being open-minded – for example, one person’s garbage is another’s treasure or toy. The movie also suggests that it’s important to be the best version of yourself, regardless of what anyone else thinks.