Probably one of the few reasons of excitement for neurologists and therapists, this movie is as legit scientifically, as it is complete in terms of entertainment and feelings, a visual treat for the audience.
What’s the Movie About
For a movie that’s about the happenings strictly located inside the mind of a young girl, this Pixar creation is deeply heartfelt. We get to know young Riley through the interactions between Joy, Fear, Disgust, and Sadness. At a helms of a motherboard, they take decisions regarding everything, from what should be the appropriate reaction to broccoli to more complex circumstances, such as dealing with a new school. The world – both inside and outside – is turned upside down when the family decides to move to San Francisco. This is a complicated experience for Riley who has to adapt to a new environment – new house, new school, new people and new family dynamics. Despite her well-intended dictatorship, Joy begins to lose the reigns of the whole operation. Things begin to crumble down literally, as personality islands are self-destructing due to Riley’s loss of friends, sports trials and desire for fun and goofiness. It seems this is the effect of Sadness not being able to self-control: everything she touches, including several long term memories who are at the core of who Riley is; therefore turning them blue. As the bright yellow globes – symbolizing the joyfulness inside them – change color, they are lost outside the headquarters. On their journey to get them back, Joy and Sadness traverse Imagination Land, Abstract Thought, the Dream Production Company Studios and the Subconscious, the land of all disturbers. Saving Riley becomes synonymous with saving themselves, a journey towards understanding and ACCEPTANCE of a higher emotional level, of complex and hybrid feelings.
What Can Be Learnt
Animated films are no longer targeted just to children. Filmmakers have realized first of all that there are pragmatic and logistic matters that need to be attended to: parents have to sit through the movie together with their children, and second of all, we are all children at heart, no matter how old we get, so we enjoy a good story anytime. A hidden motivation might be that it is easier to communicate a life-changing perspective to the mature audience through innocent, brightly colored and funny characters. Shrek wasn’t a movie for children, yet if the messages from that movie had been wrapped in a mature packaging, it would have had indie drama written all over it. Here’s to me, committing a sacrilege by using a Dreamworks production to support the methods of Pixar. With Inside Out, the Disney owned studio have achieved what no other animation movie has done before. It is an ambitious, complex, high concept movie that takes its viewers on the journey to ACCEPTANCE. Every character and most probably any member of the audience is or has struggled with a situation, a feeling, an attitude he or she is finding difficult to cope with. Joy is not going to change her ways: although it’s encouraging she keeps an optimistic and positive attitude, at times she lacks the understanding of what is actually going on. She is the dominant emotion, but she fails to see – just as we sometimes do – that you just have to let go and leave room for different type of experiences. Sadness should not be dug deep, or in specialized terms – repressed – because it might cause damage in the humblest of ways. It’s interesting that the heart is not mentioned even once, and that there is no Reason character to reconcile the divergent views. Riley is at a crossroad of emotional development anyways and the environment changes aren’t helping her either. The existing “procedures” aren’t going to work anymore (a manual for puberty – best joke of the movie). Adaptation is key, but it follows ACCEPTANCE. This stage allows for the necessary and clear evaluation of what is the given. It’s emotional, it’s difficult and at times troublesome. Once it is done, action can be taken to adapt, to change, to evolve, to move forward.
What’s the Key Take-Away
The children of the children watching the movie will enjoy it just as much and most importantly, they will find it relevant and helpful. Once the tears and laughter were consumed, I was left wanting more: the final images tease the-movie-that-could-have-been, a true inside out look into the minds of everyone. Oh, well, I’ll just have to ACCEPT the movie that is and leave it to Imagination Land to create the sequels.