Still from The Beanie Bubble / Apple TV

Plush animals are probably one of the beloved toys that have delighted children’s hearts for many decades. Recently, Apple TV+ released a film that follows the rise and fall of one of the most successful plush toy companies.  The story of Ty Inc., founded in 1986, and its founder Ty Warner’s desire to become a billionaire became real, but the need to share the glory with those close to him became too heavy.

Let’s briefly review the plot of the movie, which takes us back in time and tells a true story with a few changes and embellishments. Ty Warner (played by Zach Galifianakis) and his neighbor Robbie (played by Elizabeth Banks) have a few glasses of wine together after a painful bereavement and decide to set up a company that will produce plush toys. When the idea proves successful, they start to develop the business idea and, over time, develop a romantic relationship. However, this does not last long, Robbie proposes to expand the business to Europe, but Ty does not accept. In the ensuing controversy, Ty installs a listening device in her office and tries to justify that he owns the company and that Robbie is just a helper. This infuriates Robbie and she eventually decides to leave the company.

Elizabeth Banks and Zach Galifianakis in “The Beanie Bubble,” premiering July 28, 2023 on Apple TV+.

After this conflict, Ty later meets Sheila and her daughters. Over time, they start to spend more time together and Ty and Sheila’s daughters start a new toy line, which later becomes a huge success for the company. Meanwhile, Ty and Sheila develop a serious relationship. At the same time, Maya, a student, joins the company and decides to work for the company for minimum wage because she believes in its success. Maya starts working as a receptionist and quickly works her way up the career ladder, earning Ty’s trust very quickly. Thanks to her, the company is one of the first in America to launch a website, which later helps the company to earn a huge fortune. Maya simply becomes Ty’s right-hand, in charge of many decisions and constantly advising Ty. However, Ty doesn’t want to understand this and often likes to take the credit for himself.

A steadily growing company and increasing profits are slowly turning Ty’s head, and he starts to behave strangely and make irrational decisions. Sheila notices Ty’s bad qualities, but she stays with him after many apologies. However, Ty still puts the success of the company over a good family relationship or simply takes his time to properly evaluate Maya’s work. Finally, Maya breaks down when Ty hires a new man who becomes Ty’s right-hand man. This makes Maya very angry and she tries to persuade Ty to reverse the decision, but he does not listen to her. At a company party, Maya says what she thinks and resigns over Ty’s ears.

Movie “The Beanie Bubble” frame / Apple TV

As if that wasn’t enough, Sheila suddenly discovers, when she shows her daughter, that the toy her daughter has created does not have her name on it. Instead, her husband’s name appears on the label. This finally angers Sheila and she searches for her husband only to discover him cheating on her with his ex-partner Robbie, who has agreed to help Ty if she is the main distributor of his products in the UK. This was a final line that Ty could not go back from. Losing Sheila and Maya deprives him of the ingredients of his success, who were always there for him and who remained loyal when he needed them most. Left alone, Ty sees his plush toys become less valuable over time, while the women who were once loyal to him go on to successful careers and lives.

There is no particular moral in this movie, but there is a message. The success of Ty’s company is mainly due to three women, including Sheila’s daughters, who also contributed and gave the necessary ideas for the plush toy line. Ty did not appreciate that effort and dedication and mostly sought to find benefits for himself. This partly shows the consequences of great success and money for a person. Ty was simply unable to remain human in certain situations because he was overwhelmed by the desire to become even richer and more famous than he was to keep the people he cared about around him. We can also see the issue of the lack of appreciation of women. There are feminist details in the film, which are revealed through the courage and confidence of women to reach the heights of their careers. No matter how you look at it, at the end of the movie, all three women have achieved what they wanted in their careers or simply felt true happiness. It shows the importance of women and their potential in today’s world.

Movie “The Beanie Bubble” frame / Apple TV

Although the film is partly based on a true story, some details and characters are changed. Ty Inc. itself is still a successful plush toy company and its founder Ty Warner was convicted of tax evasion in 2014. The company was one of the first to take advantage of the internet and the website it created has generated huge revenues from the sale of plush toys. The story of the company’s success is told fairly accurately, but the characters and their experiences are somewhat altered.

The acting of several of the main actors should be highlighted. Zach Galifianakis, who plays Ty, is a well-known actor and comedian who is probably best remembered from “The Hangover in Las Vegas” and its sequels. In this film, the actor’s performance can certainly be rated highly, as he was able to convey the right emotion and embody the head of the company. The charisma of the actor simply compels the viewer to keep his eyes on the screen. Meanwhile, Ty’s business partner was played by Elizabeth Banks. The well-known actress is known to many from “Pitch Perfect”, “Walk of Shame” and other famous films. Her acting is as good as ever and her performance has raised the emotional tone of the movie. The student Maya is played by actress Geraldine Viswanathan. This young actress was most prominent in the movies “Blockers” and “Refinery29”, which were very successful. In this movie, the actress stood out from her colleagues and showed that she has the potential to play important roles in the future and play serious characters.

The movie itself is characterised by its simplicity and eye-catching late 20th-century touches, with the most notable being the style of the characters’ clothing. The plot takes us back in time briefly and evokes positive emotions, and the dialogue is quite simple, but there are also expressive phrases that enliven the movie. The phrases about the American dream and the limitless possibilities stand out the most.

In other words, it’s a great movie to spend an evening with, as the plot is not complicated. The idea of the film itself is certainly interesting and it tells most of the true story that happened at the end of the 20th century. There is no shortage of dramatic elements, which are interspersed with light humour that is sure to appeal to many people. Overall, this is a solid film that can be given a positive score.

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