Caroline Friday

Caroline Friday is a novelist and award winning screenwriter with several film projects in development for both television and theatrical distribution. She is also a 2008 Kairos Screenwriting Winner for spiritually uplifting screenplays, sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation. Caroline currently serves as EVP of Sixth Day Media, LLC, a film finance and production company headquartered in the Atlanta area. She lives in Marietta, Georgia, with her husband and three children and can be found at

Toy Story 3

Tou Story 3What a delight to go to the theater and see a fabulous G-rated film! And in 3D. My kids saw it when it was first released, so my husband and I attended together, and it did not disappoint. I don’t know why we adults think animated films are just for kids—many of my favorites are animated. Beauty and the Beast still comes off the shelf every now and again, even though it’s in VHS. Perhaps there’s still a kid in me—or perhaps it is the stories behind the animation that win my heart.

As with all Pixar movies, the animation in Toy Story 3 is flawless, but again, it is the story that works beautifully. The theme is similar to the previous films—a combination of love, forgiveness, friendship, and sacrifice. In this version, Andy, the owner of the toys, is now seventeen and just days away from attending college. His mother forces him to clean out his room so that his little sister can move in. Woody is the only toy tossed into the box marked COLLEGE, while the rest are thrown into a black trash bag designated ATTIC. Unfortunately, the trash bag gets mistaken for garbage, which sends Woody on a wild hunt to rescue his friends and return them to the attic before Andy takes off for school.

While certainly not a Christian or faith-based movie, it is family friendly with Judeo-Christian morals and themes appropriate for all ages. However, there were a few hilarious moments with Barbie and Ken that pushed the envelope for small children, as well as a gambling scene using a Farmer Says toy that probably wasn’t necessary. Conservative Christians may want to use caution here, as well as take note that there is no dad in the story, nor is a father mentioned. It is another sad reminder of the high divorce rate in our society, even among believers.

**Spoiler Alert** That being said, an interesting scene had a faith-based element worth mentioning. After a lengthy action sequence, Woody and the toys end up in the town dump. After several narrow escapes, they fall onto a fast-moving conveyor belt that is headed toward an enormous incinerator, looking very much like the lake of fire. Having just read Bill Wiese’s 23 Minutes in Hell, I thought the animators did an excellent job of depicting

the hopelessness of being trapped in such a situation. There is absolutely no way out, and the toys realize it, eventually accepting their doom. Of course, in the world of Hollywood, salvation comes from unlikely circumstances, and the toys are marvelously rescued.

While a scene like this makes for good entertainment, I had a check in my spirit that really made me think. Many people in this world are on that fast-moving conveyor belt of life, destined for eternal torment in the lake of fire, and yet they have no clue what awaits them. There will be no marvelous, miraculous salvation for them as they fall into that fiery pit one day. We Christians know that salvation only comes from faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Perhaps when you see the movie at the theater this summer, or even on DVD or Blu-ray in the months to come, you will consider this truth when this scene plays. You could be creative and talk about it with your children or at Sunday school if you teach the youth. I’m sure Woody and Buzz and all of their toy friends would be delighted to know their adventures were used to share the gospel to the lost and dying.

For those of you who are soft-hearted, I warn you that the ending touches that emotional place in the soul that made me dig into my purse and retrieve a few hankies. But it wasn’t because the story was sad—it was because this version marked the end of a chapter in the life of the toys and the start of a new beginning. Particularly touching was a tender good-bye to Woody as Andy passes him on to another loving child, then drives away to college. I’m getting choked up now just thinking about it—probably because my oldest will be off to school in just two years. Like Toy Story 3, it will be the end of a chapter in my life and the beginning of something new.

Go be a kid again and see this movie. You’ll laugh, cry, sit on the edge of your seat, and feel good about seeing a wonderful, well-made film that the whole family can enjoy for years to come. Personally, I look forward to many more sequels and seeing how this new life suits Woody and Buzz and all of their friends.