How Pixar Creates Emotional Obstacles That Lead to Pivotal Moments of Character Self-Realization

In a nostalgic video essay, Debra Minoff and Susannah McCullough of The Take offer insight into the “Pixar Moment” that makes everyone cry. This technique essentially reflects the way Pixar creates ideological obstacles that lead to pivotal junctions of self-realization, which frees them once the challenge is conquered. To further discuss the point, Minoff and McCullough show scenes from three films Ratatouille, Up and Toy Story.

In almost every Pixar film there’s a moment. It’s the scene you remember years later when you cried or laughed like a child. These these moments make us forget we’re watching a movie for a few seconds. At least were part of the story, but what is the Pixar moment?…characters usually have a preconceived notion about themselves, others or the world. The story slowly tears down that falsehood so the characters can grow and learn.