HOLLYWOOD—It’s amazing how powerful an animated film can be, particularly on adults. The new Pixar flick “Inside Out” tackles an issue that affects many youngsters as well as adults: our emotions. Emotions are aren’t always easy to describe, however we all have those core emotions that are integral to our daily lives.
The film revolves around Riley Anderson (voice of Kaitlyn Dias) who was born and raised in Minnesota, but finds herself moving to San Francisco at the age of 11. Her core emotions include Joy (voice of Amy Poehler), Sadness (voice of Phyllis Smith), Fear (voice of Bill Hader), Anger (voice of Lewis Black) and Disgust (voice of Mindy Kaling).
When I reflect on watching the movie, I would agree that four of those emotions are prevalent in anyone’s daily lives—disgust, I’d go back and forth on. As an adult not as much, but as a kid I can see the argument why that emotion is important. This movie does a phenomenal job in my opinion on educating youngsters about the state of the conscious mind, and how our emotions interact and impact our behavior. We can go from 0-30 in a matter of seconds because of an emotional trigger. This is seen multiple times by our protagonist Riley.
Riley’s emotions live in a place known as the Headquarters and her memories are housed in colored spheres. Those memories eventually find themselves in long-term storage at the end of every waking period. The primary emotion that plays a vital role in Riley’s life is Joy, which beyond a doubt is effortlessly hilarious and fun thanks to Poehler’s ability to bring life to the character. While Joy might be the mastermind, she hasn’t quite figured out the importance of Sadness, which is isolated from the others. That emotion plays a major role in furthering the narrative.
The movie touches heartstrings as it brings many adults and kids back to that first day of school; being the ‘new’ kid in class, having to make new friends or adjusting to a place that seems foreign to you—all of which Riley endures. Past memories are altered, causing a disruption in the headquarters where Riley’s emotions find themselves fighting to get back to their housing unit. It’s quite fun to see emotions battle against one another, and even speculate to a degree how the mind truly operates when it comes to allowing an emotions induce behaviors.
“Inside Out” is truly about maintaining memories; those happy moments in our lives that produce a level of glee that is almost indescribable. Most people can’t remember anything before the age of 4. I would argue that is a solid statement; anything before that age is completely foreign for me.
Memories come and go depending on their impact in one’s life; Riley learns this as her life changes along with her interactions between her parents and her childhood imaginary friend, Bing Bong (voice of Richard Kind). This childhood memory trigger helps our protagonist see the light of day when she decides to run away.
In essence, the movie teaches children not to be afraid to showcase their emotions, and also highlights the importance of understanding how emotions interact with memories. A memory can trigger multiple emotions in a person, oftentimes some stronger than others. “Inside Out” is a movie that everyone—children and adults alike—should see, not only because of the fantastic imagery and tale it weaves, but because of its ability to explain how emotions interact in a way audiences might not expect.