It is no secret that I am a fan of Disney-Pixar films – from the release of Toy Story in 1995, to the most recent release, Inside Out, there’s just something about the blend of computer animation and heart that create a masterful blend of storytelling that is just second to none.
In other words, these ain’t your mama’s cartoons.
Now, as I do with most of my personally highly anticipated films, I stayed away from any reviews or features that delved too much into the plot/content before viewing, so I went in without knowing much about the story. Really, the only thing I *really* knew was that Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust were all major players, and were all voiced by rockstar talent. My personal favorite? FEAR (Bill Hader).
Back to the review though!
Without giving too much away, it is interesting to note that the actual timeline of the film is very short, as the main character, Riley, finds out that she and her family are making a major cross country move. As an 11-year old, a move of such sort is akin to a complete turnaround of her life: leaving friends, memories, and her beloved favorite sport behind…or so she thinks! Through a series of colorful events, the audience is able to delve into the innerworkings of Riley’s mind, and thus become acquainted with “the little voices” inside her head.
Sounds simple enough right? Well, that’s where the Pixar magic happens.
I have to admit that I was already a blubbering mess when the opening credits scrolled for Inside Out, on account of the beautiful short that preceded (“Lava”) but Inside Out definitely took me on a tailspin of my own emotions. From the tender depictions of Riley’s “core memories” to my personal realization of the importance of all your emotions staying in check (and realizing that happiness is a result of many complex feelings working together, not purely “Joy”), it was certainly a rollercoaster ride that I, even as a pregnant woman, could enjoy – and I think that is what ultimately sealed the deal for me.
You see, this won’t be totally groundbreaking to any of my friends who are already parents, but the deepest feelings I had about this film centered on the way I perceived events, from start to finish. At the beginning, I could feel the adolescent angst of Riley, as she grappled with the struggle of trying to remain positive in the face of what was one of the most life-changing events of her life – I connected with recalling happy memories of youth, and recalled how idyllic memories can be, of a simpler time. But, as she dealt with more complex emotions, and we saw brief insights of her mom and dad’s minds, I thought of my own parents – then, that soon, I would become one. It was all very introspective, and spurred a whole new outlook for me.
I’ve heard that some viewers were not completely entranced with this film, but to me, it was one I know will be purchased and viewed many times. For me, it was a “deep thoughts” kind of experience – not quite the explosive or flashy summer blockbuster most imagine (think “Jurassic World”) for release this time of year, but I enjoyed it all the same, and I do believe that the many scholarly-type articles that herald the film as a potential bridge for mental health discussions are spot-on.
Emotions are things we all have, and we all process them differently – and with Inside Out, we learn why – and why that’s okay.