This past weekend I was able to get out of the house to see a movie after not being able to get out for a while. There were a lot of choices, but I decided to go see the movie Inside Out. l am a huge Disney and Pixar fan and this movie looked so good and it did not disappoint. The elements of how our emotions, personality, memories, and more work together to form who we are was brilliantly portrayed in this movie. The visual elements that they used to show the various ideas were so well done. Then there is the idea that there are moments in our lives that define who we will become and how we handle life. There were a couple moments in particular that I particularly enjoyed. (Spoilers for Inside Out after the jump.)
Contrast of Adult Emotions and Children’s Emotions
One of the neat things that is highlighted in the movie is the complex nature of emotions, but also how our emotions develop and grow. Riley’s emotions really are all over the place and have trouble deciding who is in control at any one time. Her memories are either happy, sad, afraid, angry, or disgusted. Only one emotion is ever in control at a given time and they are often fighting over who dominates. There is a moment where we see the parent’s emotions; all their emotions are working together in harmony and reflect the parent as a whole person. It was a really interesting contrast looking at the child Riley’s emotions and a glimpse at her parents. The idea of this glimpse shows that the way we handle our emotions changes over time.
Changes in Imagination
In the movie there is a moment where they go into the land of Riley’s imagination. It shows all of the things that Riley has created in her mind or thought about. There is a cloud city, the lava around the sofa cushions, french fry forest, but then there was also the imaginary boyfriend. It shows how our thoughts, imaginations, and tastes develop and change over time. One of the areas was the toddler section with princess palace and a candy house, but we see it as it is getting knocked down. There is a sadness to losing the thoughts of a child, but as we grow so do things that we dream about. Joy actual has trouble letting go of these things because they made Riley happy, but what makes us happy develops over time. It was great to see the physical representation of the things that we dream about.
Representation of Sadness
One of the things that I thought worked really well was the representation of sadness. Sadness can be an all consuming emotion if not dealt with properly and this is shown really well in this movie. Sadness is pushed aside and told to not move because the other emotions think that she screws things up. When she touches any of the memories she taints them with sadness instead of the original emotion and they cannot change them back. Thinking about how depression can function where our emotions shut down and everything is seen through that lens of sadness. The important thing though is to not suppress or hide that emotion, but acknowledge how you feel because that acknowledgment can allow someone else to help. By acknowledging the sadness of a situation you can find the joy.
The message of this movie is really powerful in my opinion. In the end Riley is growing up and maturing. She is able to have complex emotions and the emotions are able to work better together. Part of what is great is showing how a major life event has the potential to change who a child is and how they think. Depending on how the event is dealt with it can change the course of their personality entirely. Watching the movie it is heartbreaking to see the passion a child has crushed by the weight of not knowing how to deal with things. Also, it was amazing to see how recognizing the sadness that someone is feeling can lead them to joy. It might not be the same type of exuberant joy as other times, but it is still a joy.