The Trolls Movie (Begrudgingly) Made Me Happy

If you haven’t seen the movie Trolls, or don’t want it to be spoiled for you, stop reading.  If you have seen it or you don’t really mind knowing what happens in advance, let’s go to the movies!

My kids will be 4 in January and they said that of all the movies we’ve seen in the theater – 5 in the past year – The Good Dinosaur, Finding Dory, The Secret Lives of Pets, Storks and Trolls – this one was their favorite.


After the Bergens invade Troll Village, Poppy (Anna Kendrick), the happiest Troll ever born, and the overly-cautious, curmudgeonly Branch (Justin Timberlake) set off on a journey to rescue her friends. Their mission is full of adventure and mishaps, as this mismatched duo try to tolerate each other long enough to get the job done.

Like Branch, I am in no mood to feel happy right now.  It seems everywhere I look there is hurt and sadness and injustice and despair.  His character suffered a great loss and it’s made him lose all his brightness and joy.  The color has gone.  He is grey as opposed to all his Troll peers, who are saccharine sweet and optimistic in comparison.

Oh Branch. I relate.

He’s in stark contrast to Poppy, who is seemingly eternally joyful, and at times annoyingly happy.  She has hope.  She always has hope.  I can understand this too as I strive for joy and happiness and I know I annoy people at times with it.

Oh Poppy. I relate. And I also need you to tone it down a bit.

Sidenote – Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrick are PURE MAGIC.  The way she belts out these songs makes me want to jump up and dance around with her.  When Poppy sings “Get Back Up Again”, I just think, HERE IS OUR ANTHEM BOYS AND GIRLS.  

A sample of their goodness together:

Branch: Do you have to sing?
Poppy: I always sing when I’m in a good mood.
Branch: Do you have to be in a good mood?
Poppy: Why wouldn’t I be? By this time tomorrow I’ll be with all my friends. Oh, I wonder what they’re doing right now.
Branch: Probably being digested.
Poppy: They’re alive, Branch. I know it.
Branch: You don’t know anything, Poppy, and I can’t wait to see the look on your face when you realize the world isn’t all cupcakes and rainbows, because it isn’t.
Poppy: Hey, I know it’s not all cupcakes and rainbows, but I’d rather go through life thinking that it mostly is instead of being like you. You don’t sing, you don’t dance, it’s so grey all the time! What happened to you?
Branch: Ssh!
[Branch places his finger over her mouth to shush her]
Poppy: A Bergen?
Branch: Maybe.
[Branch starts to walk ahead, Poppy looks around her for a moment]
Poppy: There’s no Bergen, is there? You just said that so I’d stop talking!
Branch: Maybe.

I don’t want to relate to Poppy, but I do.  I don’t want to relate to Branch, but I do.  That’s what so great about this movie.  I’ve been accused of being too happy.  Too obnoxiously upbeat even in the midst of terrible events happening.  What people don’t always get is that it doesn’t come naturally.  I am much more drawn to sadness and despair than naturally happy, joyous and free.  BUT I KEEP WORKING AT IT.  That fake it til you make it attitude has saved my life numerous times and for my kids now, I keep it up.

I can go dark.  I’ve gone dark.  I don’t ever want to go dark again.  That doesn’t mean I don’t feel all the feelings and respond accordingly.  But it’s so much better to look for the light.

Because I want to be hopeful and full of joy.  We can be so many things all at once.  We can care about so many things all at once.  We are complex creatures.  Just because we project joy and happiness doesn’t mean we don’t feel sadness down to our bones.

You’ll notice I’m writing about finding hope and joy a lot lately and it’s because we so desperately need it right now.

You know who made me find joy in this movie?  Bridget.

OMG BRIDGET.  My friend Jenn-Anne (who also helps me find joy on the regular) texted me Saturday night that she and her boy had just seen the movie and that we needed to go.  It just so happened I planned to take the kids early Sunday morning ($5 movie anybody?), and she texted #TEAMBRIDGET.  I didn’t yet know what she meant, but I do now.

Bridget. We are all Bridget, aren’t we?

Bridget is the unlikely hero we need.  She is awkward and unsure of herself, but she finds friendship and hope in the Trolls, which is unheard of for a Bergen.  I want to be friends with Bridget. She is selfless in her care of her friends.  In the end, she is the one that really causes the big change in their world.  Everyone plays a part, but Bridget is the key.

In a few short days we find out the fate of our country’s leadership. But not necessarily the fate of our country. We can still choose happiness and hope no matter who wins this election. There is strength in numbers.

I’ve been listening to the Trolls soundtrack on Spotify all morning and you know what?  It helps.  I admit it.  The Trolls movie (begrudgingly) made me happy.

Branch: Happiness is inside all of us, sometimes you just need someone to help you find it.

In the end, Branch finds some happiness and his color returns.

STAY MAD YET JOYFUL MY FRIENDS. It’s not all cupcakes out here, but sometimes it really is delicious.

Life lessons.  And I believe people can change. However, I keep trying to meet people where they are.  It’s a constant struggle, but I’m trying. Just because I’m at a place in my life where I have come to terms with some shit, doesn’t mean that everybody is there yet, or that they will ever be.  And that’s OK.  People can change.  But they have to want to.  And I can love them anyway.  In spite of it, because of it, we can just love.  No matter where we are.  We can grant each other the grace to feel all the feelings.

When life presents us with reasons to feel joy, FEEL IT.  SOAK IT IN.  There is so much good out there.

CAN’T STOP THE FEELING!  When they started singing this song in the movie, my kids both SQUEALED “THIS IS OUR FAVORITE SONG IN THE CAR” and the whole movie theater laughed.  You could feel parents and kids bouncing to the beat and that is what we need isn’t it?  Something to unite us if only for 90 minutes.  Something to make us all bop to the same beat for a little bit of time to remember our common humanity.  To share in the joy these glittery creatures created for just a bit.  And then try to carry it out into the world.

Call me naive or call me sappy or call me simplistic, but I will take this joy and hope wherever I can get it right now and pass it on. Can’t stop the feeling!


These kids agree!  We give it 17 stars!!!  When little kids start clapping at the end of a movie, my heart grows 5 sizes.  This one made me clap and dance right along with them.

You looked kind of drunk

On finding hope and goodness in the midst of this terrible world

When they go low, we go high.  Thank you Michelle Obama for helping me parent my kids with hope and kindness.


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