Best heartwarming Disney & Pixar movies on Disney Plus


Disney and Pixar movies are classics. They come with sugar, spice, everything nice – and of course, that extra Chemical X to make even grown adults weep like babies. And if time has proven anything, it’s that both Disney and Pixar have only grown better at spinning heartwarming stories with solid life lessons that tug at our heartstrings and test our tear ducts. 

We take a deep-dive into the cinematic marvels the 2000s brought us, from the likes of The Incredibles and Finding Nemo to bring you the nine best Disney and Pixar films to watch on Disney Plus that’ll leave you with warm fuzzy feelings, crying into your sleeves.

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1. Coco


Coco - Official US Trailer
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Coco - Official US Trailer

 

Coco is a Pixar film that shines a light on the beautiful culture of Latin America and the Mexican holiday, Día de Muertos, a.k.a. the Day of the Dead. We follow one boy’s undeniable love of music, as he fights his fate in a multi-generational shoemaking family to pursue his dream of being a musician. 

The catch? Music is pretty much banned in his family forever, thanks to his great-great-grandfather who abandoned the family to become a musician. At the core of it all, Coco teaches us about the realities of life, ambition, the dark side of humanity, forgiveness, and how familial love trumps all. 

Tearjerker score: 5/5


2. Inside Out


Inside Out - Official US Trailer
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Inside Out - Official US Trailer

In an age where we’re increasingly learning that it’s okay not to be okay, Inside Out is one Pixar film that explores the delicate subject of mental health through the lens – or rather – the mind of an 11-year-old protagonist named Riley. 

Riley’s brain is command central, and new memories are influenced by the five personified feelings – joy, anger, sadness, fear and disgust – living in her brain’s HQ, and saved as little glowing gumballs to either be sorted into long-term memory, core memory or dropped off the memory cliff.

When Riley’s family relocates to San Francisco, her world and emotions get turned upside down. We watch as Joy tries to commandeer Riley’s thoughts and force Sadness into the background, but this only leads to greater emotional catastrophes. The moral here: you need to sometimes embrace sadness to be happy again.

Tear jerker score: 4/5


3. Up


Disney/Pixar's Up - Official Trailer
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Disney/Pixar's Up - Official Trailer

On the surface, Up looks like a movie about an old man embracing his last adventure of a lifetime. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We love Up for Carl & Ellie’s wholesome love story that’s so engrossing, the first 11 minutes of the film will have you feeling like you’ve lived through 60-odd years with them. 

Up teaches us that life is the adventure. And if you’re too focussed on chasing an unattainable dream, you just might miss it. You’ll want to pay special attention to boy scout Russell’s own journey to gaining the approval and attention of his father – definitely not your typical happily-ever-after, but one where all the characters find new happiness in the end.

Tearjerker score: 5/5


4. Toy Story 3


Toy Story 3: Trailer
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Toy Story 3: Trailer

The original Toy Story may have hit the big screens way back in 1995, but Toy Story 3 is undisputedly the best instalment of the Toy Story franchise – and some dare say best film Pixar has ever produced. 

As grown-up Andy heads off to get a sweet taste of collegiate life, taking only Woody along with him as a memento. A tiny slipup lands the rest of the toys in Sunnyside Daycare, a not-so-sunny place thanks to the tyrannical rule of one strawberry-scented bear named Lotso.

True friendships are put to the test when Woody braves all odds to protect and save his friends. Let’s just say… move over Lilo & Stitch, Toy Story 3 is the true embodiment of ohana. Brace yourself for more than just a few harrowing plot twists because things get heated… if you know what I mean!

Tearjerker score: 4.5/5


5. Wall-E


WALL•E  | Trailer | Official Disney Pixar UK
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WALL•E | Trailer | Official Disney Pixar UK

Wall-E is the only operational trash-cleaning robot in a post-apocalyptic world that’s been completely inundated with trash to the point of inhabitability. Eve, on the other hand, is a next-gen robot who meets Wall-E on one of her missions to scout for life on desolate earth. 

There, a sentient Wall-E gives Eve a little home tour, where we learn about his penchant for old-world memorabilia and old-school movies. Long story short, the two develop feelings and become fiercely protective of one another. As with all good movies, bad things do happen to good people robots.

Not only does this film remind us about the fragility of our world and how important sustainability is, but it also shows us that love is enough. It’s pretty astounding that a movie about robots with almost no dialogue can move adults to tears, but that’s Pixar for you.

Tearjerker score: 3.5/5


6. Soul


Disney and Pixar’s Soul | Official Trailer | Disney+
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Disney and Pixar’s Soul | Official Trailer | Disney+

We all want to have lived a life of no regrets when we finally reach heaven’s pearly gates. In Soul, we’re introduced to a jazz-loving Joe, who lives a monotonous life he isn’t proud of. Just when he’s about to bag the gig of a lifetime and finally live out his dreams, he unexpectedly falls into a manhole and “dies”.

Not yet ready to meet his maker, Joe escapes “The Great Beyond” and lands himself in “The Great Before” instead, where all new souls start off before heading to earth. Through Joe’s desperate attempts to return to his body to finally start living the life he’s always coveted, Soul’s takeaway is aptly summarised by this adage – “Life is a journey, not a destination.

Tearjerker score: 4/5


7. Monsters Inc.


Monsters, Inc. 3D Official Trailer #1 (2012) Pixar Animated Movie HD
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Monsters, Inc. 3D Official Trailer #1 (2012) Pixar Animated Movie HD

Monsters run the show in Monstropolis, a city that runs on the power generated from the screams of little children. Sulley and Mike are star employees of Monsters Inc., one such organisation that deploys trained monsters to scare and collect screams. 

But after a toddler named Boo infiltrates monster world, an unlikely bond is formed between human and monster. Sulley and Mike even go as far as to risk their lives to get Boo back to the safety of her world.

The messaging in this movie is largely up to interpretation, but the way we’re reading the tea leaves leads us to this movie conclusion: there are bad eggs in this world, but there are lots of good ones too. Don’t be afraid to fight for what is right, even if the odds are against you.

Tearjerker score: 4/5


8. Onwards


Onward | Official Trailer
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Onward | Official Trailer

Onwards melds what we know of the real world with myth and legend to bring you a wacky set up. You’ve got unicorns rummaging through trash cans in a mushroom house-lined suburb, wandering griffins, and manticores who run taverns. 

But the real good stuff lies in the magical tale of two brothers on a quest to bring their late father back to life – just for a day. And while the movie is filled with adventure and goofy moments – it’s the emotional ending you’ll want to read yourselves for. 

If you can relate to losing a parent at a young age, this movie will hit you in the feels. As told in Onwards, sometimes, what you’ve desperately been looking for might have been right beside you all along.

Tearjerker score: 4.5/5


9. Big Hero 6


Disney's Big Hero 6 - Official US Trailer 1
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Disney's Big Hero 6 - Official US Trailer 1

Big Hero 6 follows the story of Hiro, a robotics extraordinaire whose life is steered back on track under the guidance of his older brother Tadashi. But after a fire takes the life of his brother, Hiro befriends his late brother’s invention – Baymax, a cute squishy robot designed to care for sick patients. 

After a masked man attacks, Hiro discovers an insidious truth behind his brother’s death and must work through his grief and betrayal to seek justice – the right way. Grief is never an easy pill to swallow, but Big Hero 6 shows us that your happiness in life is determined by your perspective. Plus, the ones you love and have lost will always live with you in spirit.

Tearjerker score: 4/5


Disney & Pixar movies on Disney Plus that will make you cry


After having shed so many tears over Disney & Pixar movies, you’d think we’d be immune to their sad plot twists by now, but nope, I don’t think our fragile hearts ever will be. 

Whether you’re a newly minted Disney Plus subscriber looking to make the most of your $11.98/month or a die-hard fan of these animated movies, this list of Disney & Pixar movies will be sure to warm the cockles of your heart and deplete your stash of tissues at home.

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Cover image adapted from: Youtube, Reddit, Sutori, Cinema Shock