Lost Ollie

Lost Ollie Is Not Your Everyday Toy Story

Dept. of Toy Stories


For those of us born during the 80s and 90s, there is one animated picture that has been forever embedded into our hearts. The story of two toys on an adventure to find their owner and reignite that childhood joy within him. The film in question is of course the Pixar classic, Toy Story. With every new installment, we grew as Andy grew. As did our favourite toys. All the way to Toy Story 4 when their saga finally came to an end. Now, Netflix seems to have taken on the task of filling that void with their own set of characters. Which is where we begin the tale of Lost Ollie.

Based on the beloved children’s book, Ollie’s Odyssey, Lost Ollie follows the tale of a small plush bunny as he gets separated from his owner and begins a great adventure to be reunited with his best buddy, Billy. Sounds familiar? It should. We’ve seen it enough times before. Not just in Toy Story, but in any number of children’s cartoons. The difference here, however, is that it feels like this four part mini-series was made for us adults. For all of us struggling to navigate through our journey of adulthood and losing that sense of childhood wonder that we so desperately need to hang on to.

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay

Lost Ollie

Weaving it’s way between CGI and live action set pieces, the series features the performances of Jake Johnson (New Girl, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse), Gina Rodriguez (Jane The Virgin, Annihilation), and the voices of Jonathan Groff (Hamilton, Manhunter), Tim Blake Nelson (O Brother, Where Art Thou, Minority Report), and Mary J. Blige. Groff truly shines with his performance of Ollie, tapping into a vocal style that is reminiscent of what we’d imagine our favourite toys would sound like. And while Johnson and Rodriguez’s performances were a delight, I felt that more could have been done with the dad. Rodriguez beautifully demonstrates the strength of a mother by never letting any adversity bring her down, but that could have been complimented with the contrast of how a husband would deal with and handle a similar situation. A missed opportunity? Perhaps.

While the similarities to Toy Story are incredibly obvious, Lost Ollie takes on issues that the Pixar film just couldn’t. This is a mature take on that story. While it does touch on the themes of lost childhood and the need to grow up, the film also tackles the harsh realities of life, responsibility, and most importantly, grief. In this fast paced world where we often suppress our emotions in order to just “get on with it,” Ollie comes to remind us that it’s okay to feel sad. It’s okay to cry. It’s alright to not be alright. Which are incredibly important lessons for both kids and adults alike.

Live and Love

Lost Ollie

The third episode in this series, however, does deserve a special mention. While the first two episodes were more Ollie-centric, Episode 3 briefly showcases the backstory of Ollie’s crew: Rosy and Zozo. Zozo’s tale of a tragic romance reflects on the journey of grief and mourning we all feel coming out of a lost love. It explains what happens when those who lose love, lose their one shred of hope. It highlights the importance of love and care to all. It is a subtle and nuanced way of putting forward some incredibly difficult life lessons.

Lost Ollie will break you in the best way possible. He is that window into our childhood. He is a symbol of our sense of innocence and adventure. This series will make you ask: “Where did that all go? When did it leave us?” By the end of it, we might even see ourselves in Ollie. Letting go of all that responsibility and just following our hearts. Because our first and most important responsibility, to ourselves and to those around us, is to never stop living and never stop loving.

Lost Ollie is the closest thing we have to a Calvin and Hobbes mini-series. It is something that reminds us oldies of our good times and memories, while teaching and guiding the next generation through this adventure we call life. It is personified in what Billy’s mother says the first time she brings Ollie into his arms: “Ollie is us. Our memories, all stitched together.”

Lost Ollie is now streaming on Netflix.

Nick Dorian spent most of his childhood dreaming of being a plumber, mainly because he loved watching Super Mario go on adventures. When he heartbreakingly discovered actual plumbers don't go on great adventures in real life, he went on to sit in front of a TV or movie screen, watching more people go on adventures, and then talk to anybody around him about what he's seen, whether they liked it or not. Fast forward to today, he somehow managed to make watching movies and TV shows, and discussing them, an actual living. Which goes to show, dreams do come true. Except when you dream of being an Italian plumber who fights mushrooms and toads.

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