The Iron Giant

Can you even remember the first movie that ever made you cry?

The question came up in my mind recently and, funny enough, I can’t remember what film actually got me to cry first. No, for some reason it’s more complex and weird than that (because, well, it’s me). I cannot remember what the first film to make me cry was, but…

What I remember for sure in regards to the question I pose are two things in particular. First is the film that I remember crying at the end of and realizing the idea that movies were just going to make me cry at times. That that would be okay. The film…

Peter Jackson’s King Kong.

King Kong

Second, when I talk about the first movie that made me cry I think of the one film which I now look back on and think “that was the one that should’ve done it.”

We all have that one movie that impacts us emotionally in a vastly different and unique way. The film grips us in this manner which, in many cases, we can’t explain. At least not for a very long time. In my own life the film which impacts me in such a way is The Iron Giant.

Why does any of this come up? Well, if you are an internet and, specifically, YouTube fiend like I am then there may be a channel on the website devoted film that draws your attention. More specifically, the channel will draw your attention if you are a fan of video essays about films.

The YouTube channel?

Film Joy, or, Movies with Mikey.

As an internet connoisseur myself Movies with Mikey was just a wonderful thing to be able to find on YouTube when I found it. Of course, the first film that drew me to the channel?

The Iron Giant.

Both the film itself and Movies with Mikey’s video essay on the film are fantastic. If you don’t believe me then watch for yourself.

If you didn’t watch the video then shame on you. Although you probably have stuff to do in your life other than spend 14 minutes beyond what you planned on spending reading this article. So I’ll live, but if you do have the time then go ahead and watch it.

Now, time to rewind…

Back in 1999 when The Iron Giant was first released my life was strife with the hassle and abuse of being bullied in school. Right around that year, my seventh in existence, I had grown a bit both upwards and outwards and had just moved to a new school. Here I was the outcast.

Not only was I the outcast who would get bullied, but like I said I grew upward and outward. I was bigger than other kids and I was also stronger. So, my recourse when I would get verbally harrassed by other kids… simply try and fight them. I wanted to let these kids feel the pain they were inflicting upon me and, in the way I chose my recoursive actions, then would get into trouble as if I were in fact the bully.

So you can imagine a character that was large and strong with a ‘heart’ of gold would speak to me. Yet, I cannot remember how I reacted in the theater watching the Iron Giant. I know I saw it. I know I saw it in theaters, which… is quite the feat since The Iron Giant flopped at the box office. I remember I saw it with my mom, sister, and cousin. But for the life of me I can’t remember what my reaction was to the scene of the movie. And…

If you have not seen The Iron Giant then I can’t help but tell you there is one scene that stands out above the rest. A scene I would venture to say will go down as one of the saddest in the history of animated films. In fact I can only think of two other animated films with scenes like it.

First and foremost is the O.G.

And, of course, the second you all know. You know it all too well.

For those of you that have not seen The Iron Giant. Comparing a scene from that movie with these scenes in Bambi and The Lion King may seem an outlandish claim. Well…

Watch the movie.

Because when you do you will come to understand what many around the world will now tell you.

One of the saddest scenes in movie history is, well it’s…


(But, like I said, watch the movie first).

(Hey, watch the damn movie!)

Thank You

The Iron Giant

And I cannot remember whether I cried at this scene as a kid.

On the other hand I can barely begin watching that clip now without bawling my eyes out.

You see as closely as I may be able to associate my childhood feelings with what the Iron Giant must’ve felt like now that I am older, I’ve become even more closely drawn in to an association with the character. Now I watch the film and I see a symbolic nature to the Giant. Something a bit different than Movies with Mikey pointed out. Now I can’t help but see myself in that amazing hunk of metal.

I was bullied as a kid. Yes, that sucks, but developing schizoaffective disorder though, developing any of a number of psychotic illnesses, that is a tragic story unto itself.

So it seems at least.

I may see similarities between the Iron Giant and my childhood self in retrospect. I may have even felt it when watching the film in theaters. Yet, now, I know I feel every bit of it. Deep down in my soul. The very fiber of my being.

The symptoms of my psychotic illness began during the summer of 2014 and, obviously, I will never forget what that was like. I was scared, hoping people wouldn’t find out. The idea that people would know what I dealt with would mean that people would look at me as a monster. And I didn’t feel like one.

Yet, was I?

In truth, the fact was and is I am a human being. Just as anybody else in the world I am someone capable of actions that are good, great, terrible, monstrous, etc., but I couldn’t see the forest through the trees back then. In fact many out there in the world can’t either.

Many may hear that I have this mental illness and they fear what I may do because of this illness, this disability, I have. When, ironically, it is much more likely that I will deal with a violent crime being committed against me than it is I will commit a violent crime against another person due to the illness I have. In reality people like me dealing with this illness, others dealing with a seperate one, and ‘normal’ people are capable of being and or doing good or terrible things.

As was the Iron Giant.

Now, the Iron Giant may not be a human being, but the Giant is unequivically human in the way he acts. Angry, sad, scared, hurt, etc. he mirrors us, more specifically Hogarth in all the manners we need him to so we know what he is capable of. Good, goodness, in fact, let’s be honest, greatness.

Yet, throughout the entire film human beings are scared of him. In some ways rightly so. He is a humongous metal man with the cabilities and built in power to commit actions of mass destruction. But you and I know better than that. Deep down he’s a sweet heart.

I feel a kinship with the Iron Giant. I feel we all should. We are all “who we choose to be.”

We all can be…


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