It’s okay to be sad sometimes
When was the last time a Pixar film tugged at the heart strings and made you well up? Toy Story 3’s goodbye to Andy? Seeing an entire love and loss story in the opening sequence of a film in Up? It’s no surprise then that the latest offering from Pixar which is directed by Up’s Pete Docter while colourful enough to entertain the younger audience members, will make lumps appear in the throat of parents in the theater on numerous occasions throughout the film.
From the opening scenes where we see the birth of a baby girls consciousness and her very first memory being created by the happy and bouncy sprite Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler) to the latter parts of the film where now 11 year old Riley is forgetting about the things she loved when younger such as imaginary friends and toys. On many occasions it brought a lump to my throat and I’m not even a parent.
Inside Out is seen from 2 perspectives. One inside Riley’s head where her emotions are controlled by 5 characters. Joy, Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling). Their job is to provide the right reactions to the real world events that Riley experiences and to create memories and core memories. They are represented by glass balls that are stored in Riley’s mind and are colour coordinated based on which emotion made the memory. The second perspective is the real world with Riley living it with her parents.
Everything is perfect for Riley, her parents and her emotions while living at home in Minnesota. Many treasured and core memories are created and stored with the majority of them being a joyous yellow. But in a plot similar to another legendary film Spirited Away, We see Riley and her family move to San Francisco where new memories will be made, but they may not always be joyful ones.
As Sadness begins to kick in turning some existing core memories blue and bringing Riley’s mood down in the real world, Joy tries to protect the treasured core memories that Riley had that have shaped her life so far. In a few frantic minutes Sadness and Joy and the handful of joyful core memories are ejected from the mind into Riley’s subconscious. With that Riley is left to experience her new home, school and world without happiness or sadness to control her. Disgust, Fear and Anger ruling the reactions and creating the memories further hurts Riley’s core memories as she starts to grow distant from her friends, her parents and her passions.
The more touching moments come with Joy and Sadness trying to find their way back to the control room if you will but encountering so many memories that are being forgotten as Riley is growing up. Meeting imaginary friends that are desperate to be played with again but unfortunately find they are fading away as Riley grows up no longer needing an imaginary friend. Cue the throat lumps.
To me the story of the film may go over a few of the younger viewers heads, but there is still plenty there to entertain them with bright characters, funny interactions between the emotions and plenty of laughs to be had, but they may not quite understand what’s happening when the pace slows down when it comes to showing the loss of treasured memories.
While you can watch your child grow and try to give them all the happiness in the world, the moral of the story is sometimes we all need a few sad memories to create new happy ones. Inside Out demonstrates this in the most perfect way providing us with a charming story showing us that blissful innocence of childhood can’t last forever and that even our happiest memories need sad memories to exist.
Inside out is a definite return to form after a few years of still good but not great output. But given how Disney Animation Studios game had stepped up with monster releases such as Big Hero Six and Frozen, Pixar really needed to find the formula for massive success again and with Inside Out they’ve done just that.
Image Source: http://www.pixarpost.com/2014/11/inside-out-books-popping-up-on-amazon.html