Pixar’s Onward Is A Heartwarming Story About Finding Your True Self

Pixar’s Onward isn’t just a story about two brothers going on an adventure to spend one more day with their deceased father, it’s about finding your true self and inner confidence.
pixar onward review
Pixar has done it again with their new movie Onward. The trailers made this movie seem like it is about two brothers on a quest to spend one more day with their deceased father. And it is. But it is also so much more than that. Bring your tissues and get ready to feel all the feels as you go on an unforgettable adventure with Ian and Barley. 

From the moment this movie started, I was sucked in. Onward perfectly blended the fantastic with the familiar and I loved every second of it. There were lots of comedic moments with true life lessons buried inside, as is true with most (OK all) Pixar films. 

Ian starts this movie off with little to no confidence. He is nervous to talk to other kids at his school, and is embarrassed by his screw up brother, Barley. Barley on the other hand doesn’t have a care in the world. He isn’t scared of anything. And we find out why later in the film.

As you follow the brothers’ as they search for a Phoenix Gem to bring back the rest of their father, you will also watch them both grow as people. They are forced outside of their comfort zones, especially Ian, and watching it on the big screen is magical (no pun intended). 

Children are sure to come out of this movie knowing they should embrace who they truly are, and never run away from it. 

pixar onward review

Be Your True Self

The main lesson that I think the audience should take away from Pixar’s Onward is to be your true self. This is mentioned several times throughout the movie. Take Dad for example, it is said that he wore the ugliest socks every day, and didn’t care what people thought. He was bold. He was himself. 

During one scene the boys and their father’s legs are dancing together and they joke at how bad he is. But he doesn’t care what others think of him. And never did when he was alive. That is a great quality to have, no matter how old you are. 

Barley is also his true self in this movie. He vowed never to be scared and he sticks by that vow. He embraces life, and doesn’t care that others make fun of him and how much he believes in magic, even though there seems to be not much left in the world.

pixar onward review

Find Your Confidence

As I said above, Ian is very shy. He doesn’t think he is ready to take on the world, or even driving for that matter. But as he is forced to go on a quest with his brother so he can finally meet his dad — something he has dreamed of all his life — his confidence grows little by little. 

Ian isn’t the only one we see gain confidence. The Manticore, Mom, and even Colt (the Centaur), learn more about themselves in this movie. They find the confidence to be who they truly are. Which is never a bad thing. 

pixar onward review

Dealing With Death

Ian and Barley’s father died while Barley was very young, and before Ian was born. Each of the boys have their own way of coping with this. And they both would give just about anything for one day with their deceased father. In Onward, the subject of death is tackled perfectly. It is never an easy subject to talk about, but is also an important one.

Death is a part of life. And everyone grieves in their own way. We see the Lightfoots do this in Onward, and while it may be hard for some to watch, I think it is a necessary watch. 

pixar onward review

Overall Thoughts

Pixar’s Onward has lots of laugh out loud moments, but also ones that will make you shed some tears. The world is filled with mystical creatures, and each one has their own moment. This movie flew by for me because I was truly invested in the Lightfoot brothers and their journey. 

Onward may be hilarious, but it is so much more than that. It is a story about family, love, and finding your self. There is even an LGBTQ character, which I thought was a perfect addition to this film. 

If you have ever lost a loved one, as most of us have, this movie will likely touch you in your heart. And that is OK — actually, it’s a GOOD thing. Learn to be your true self, and gain that inner confidence.

onward dan scanlon kori rae

The Onward Long Lead press days, including a press conference with Kori Rae and Dan Scanlon, as seen on October 30, 2019 at Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, Calif. (Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)

The Story Behind Onward

Onward is loosely based on the fact that Dan lost his father when he was very young. However, he did have a brother to help him get through it. Knowing that made this movie harder to watch at certain parts. I loved seeing the bond between Ian and Barley and knowing what Dan went through made me love it even more. 

I have a little sister and this movie makes me want to call her up, go see her, and embrace her. Family needs to stick together.

Don’t miss my interview with Onward Director Dan Scanlon and Kori Rae!

Pixar's Onward Poster

About Onward

Set in a suburban fantasy world, Disney and Pixar’s “Onward” introduces two teenage elf brothers (voices of Chris Pratt and Tom Holland) who embark on an extraordinary quest to discover if there is still a little magic left out there. Pixar Animation Studios’ all-new original feature film is directed by Dan Scanlon and produced by Kori Rae – the team behind “Monsters University.”

Tickets for Onward are on sale now!

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“Onward” releases in theaters on March 6, 2020.

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  1. I loved this review. I think dealing with death and talking about it is such a healthy thing to do. I’m glad Pixar is always brave enough to “go there”.

  2. Pingback: Pixar's Onward Printable Activity & Coloring Pages

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