I hope you’ve heard all the hype and positive feedback this movie has received since it’s debut two days ago, because I’m here to also justify that it is very well deserved. Just leave it to Pixar to deliver another creative, enlightening and momentous film that teaches us more about ourselves, and others, than we could ever have prepared ourselves for before we sat down in that theater seat.
I’ve been looking forward to this film all year, as I do for every yearly Pixar released film, and thankfully this year we get two! I’m waiting impatiently but enthusiastically for you, Good Dinosaur. Anyway, I went in expecting a pretty awesome film that would describe why people feel and work the way they do and done well with their fun emotion based characters, but I did not expect the in-depth mental health and stability informative undertones and hitting that spot in my heart I know every person sitting near me understands. That is what I appreciated the most about Inside Out, the ability to deliver the message that no one is alone, and to be human we must feel every emotion to understand and appreciate who we are, and why we are the way we are.
The movie was about an 11-year-old girl named Riley, who lived a very happy family-centered life, dedicated to her sport, and appreciative of her friends. Three things I, and hope others can also validate, make for one very happy individual. A stable home, a passion, and friends. But what happens when one, or two, or in Riley’s case, all three seem to be at risk or taken away entirely? Everything she knew and loved, that coincidentally made her who she was, all began to fall apart when her family had to move and re-locate homes. The obstacles Riley faces are not that too unfamiliar to an audience member, the family dynamic hindering and changing because of exterior factors, experiencing loneliness because of the unfamiliarity of a new place and lack of friends, and losing the one thing you were certain you could always rely on to bring you peace and clarity. While we view the story of Riley’s new pivotal point in life, Pixar gives us a sensational inside look of her emotional and mental stability through emotions that are the voices inside her head characterized as Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust and Fear.
We see how each emotion played a part in Riley’s life, from child tantrums, excitement over a hockey win, and complete contentment in the embrace of her parents. You really can’t help but smile as you relate to every feeling Riley felt and recognize the emotions that were a part of it, many times a combination of two. While this is all immensely interesting and heartfelt, Pixar goes even further and does something I didn’t anticipate. They introduce the part Sadness plays in our life, how easy it is to creep in, and make every other emotion dwindle down to seemingly feel nonexistent. It goes in even further to demonstrate how an individual reacts when both Sadness and Joy become so out of reach and indistinguishable that we let our other emotions take control, Anger, Fear, Disgust, constructing itself into depression molded with anxiety. Pixar invents such a significant way to describe the mental aspects and development of depression, and you can read other articles that digg more into this particular aspect more, but I want to focus on the relationship Joy and Sadness shared in order to surpass that unfortunate too familiar emotion we all have faced, or know others who have.
If you haven’t seen the film, this is where I recommend you stop reading! Because I’m going to go into specific scenes that really emphasized why I loved and feel so grateful for this Pixar production, and probably only understood if you’ve seen the movie.
Joy has been present since the moment Riley was born, she was the first one, but Sadness was born not a moment too soon after. Because in order to fully appreciate and feel Joy, we have to undergo and understand Sadness. It is first presented that Riley throughout her life has been ruled majority by Joy, the positive aspects of life, until her family has to move and her emotions conflict inside of her. Sadness begins to take the main reign before Riley pivots into a spiral of losing both Joy and Sadness altogether. Joy and Sadness are thrown into Pixar’s constructed personality kingdom away from Riley’s main control center, after Sadness begins to feel the need to “touch” on Riley’s positive memories and make them “blue”, because they reminded Riley of a time she was happy, the way she feels she isn’t anymore. Joy and Sadness have always conflicted with each other, as it is apparent by the frustration Joy feels when Sadness comes in and “ruins” once positive emotions felt by Riley, and her attempts at keeping her away from the “control center”. Sadness can’t be kept away however, despite the attempts of Joy, and they both end up embarking on a journey to get back to Riley’s control center.
This is what I really enjoyed and was captivated by, the journey and understanding that Joy and Sadness have to face by working together to get back to Riley. It is also interesting to see that Sadness wants Joy to make Riley happy, she herself can’t understand why she has to feel what she does, and it takes Joy to realize that Sadness should still be appreciated and felt despite the important of happiness in someone’s life. At first, Joy would try and make Sadness understand that Riley’s happy memories and emotions evoked were more deserved, but Sadness for example, instead of seeing the “joy” of playing in the rain, could only focus on those cold and soaked shoes. The most monumental scene for me was the moment that Joy reflected on one of Riley’s particular past happy memories and realized that when Riley lost a game for her team and sat in sadness, she only felt that much joy when her teammates lifted her up to remind her how much she was still appreciated and loved only because of how much Riley believed they might not have. It was then Joy realized that Sadness was needed as much as she, and together, they could concur and help Riley. When Joy asked Sadness to help her push that button on the control center to stop Riley from running away and getting on the bus, because she had to realize that although leaving might bring her back to happiness she once felt, it was be saddening to leave her parents and the possibilities this new life could bring her. For the first time, an orb combined of both blue and yellow hues formed and brought Riley back home. After that, all the emotions could play a part in Riley again, all a mixture of them like never before.
I’m really excited for everyone to see this, children and adults, because if there is anything Pixar knows how to do is to cater to absolutely everyone. Aside from the familiar comedic aspects, breathtaking animation and soundtracks we can all expect from a Pixar film, this one really makes me feel like we can all relate and feel a whole lot closer as people. We can all laugh and agree that there’s that song that will get stuck in our head at the most random moments of our day, understand fear brings out the most dramatic sides of us, feel that nostalgic tug when we have to sacrifice some of our childhood tendencies in order to grow (I’m still crying for you Bing Bong), and see that the new generation is a mixture of gender equal emotions, but most importantly, that Sadness is something felt by everyone and no one should feel alone, because we’re in it together. Joy is at times hard to reach, no matter how present it was during certain aspects of our lives. Sadness will always be present, just as every emotion is and should be, and the mental stability of everyone is a little different when certain emotions are the ones behind that control panel, and I’m glad this film presented that the way it did. I know this movie has and will help a lot of people who have never been able to describe what depression feels like do so, and I hope it also brings forth a breath of relief for them and everyone to feel that we are all human on the same journey trying to understand and distinguish all our emotions in order to make sense of ourselves. Thank you Pixar, you did it again.