‘Inside Out’ : A Relatable And Modern Tale

A snippet of a short titled Riley’s First Date was released today. The full-length short will be included in the bluray version of the box-office hit ‘Inside Out’ next October. It gives us a glimpse of Riley’s life after turning twelve and her parents emotions when a boy comes by their house to see their daughter. This release seems like a great occasion to share a couple of thoughts on the movie from which the characters have originated .

‘Inside Out’ is the latest feature film from heart-warming and thoughtful studios Pixar. They knock it out of the park with this simple premise: getting a look into the mind of an eleven year old girl. Riley is loving, family-oriented and playful with a passion for hockey. I applaud the choice of having the emotions be in a girl’s mind. This is a refreshing take, since most previous movies of the Studios have male protagonists. Riley’s head is controlled by five emotions: Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Disgust (Mindy Kaling), Sadness (Phyllis Smith) and Anger (Lewis Black). These sometimes eccentric characters are voiced by a stellar comedic ensemble, most of them having worked together or appeared on The Office (2006). Even though these characters are colorful and deliver some hilarious mannerism, reactions and one-liners, they have a degree of  innocence and naivety. For the viewer this is both enjoyable and innovative. They are all, without a doubt lovable. Emotions in ‘Inside Out’ are important characters that live in Riley’s head. As creator Pete Docter  discussed during the press tour for this movie, it was really interesting for him to see emotions as characters and Riley’s head as the setting. The inspiration for the movie actually came from seeing his own daughter growing up which eases the personal response we have to Riley as a character.

The emotions are in charge of Riley’s memories, her personnality and of course the manner in which she feels through the highs and lows of her pre-pubecent life. Their intervention proves particularly crucial, when the Andersens move from Minnessota to San Francisco. When the family arrives to their new house, they don’t find it as they had pictured it, especially Riley and her emotions which are bewildered. Needless to say, their new home needs a lot of ajustements and getting used to. This life-changing event leads the usually joyful and happy girl to find herself feeling lonely and sad. Amongst other pivotal moments, she loses touch with her childhood friend and her hockey team which she has difficulty dealing with.

‘Inside Out’ keeps a poignant sensitivity to issues we go through in life. In a similar manner of the Studios’ previous work ‘Up’ (2009), you will find yourself revisiting your childhood. You get to be reminded of the freedom and the happiness  you felt as well as more challenging events and memories that occured. There is also a more global message around the way we might perceive our emotions during critical times. Where as at first each emotion is shown as an independent  way to cope or experience life; what they learn is that they can actually be intertwined. When Joy and Sadness -who have clearly contrasting views of the world in the beginning of the film -are lost in the maze that is long-term memory, they form a surprising bond. Indeed, they realize that in order to get Riley back on the right track, they must work together to return to Headquarters, where the other emotions have things poorly under control. Anger, Disgust and Fear unvoluntarily bring Riley to harbour feelings of resentment towards her parents for making the family move as well as embarassement at school. This leads to devastating actions.

‘Inside Out’ is a relatable tale of a modern girl making a mends with an unexpected change occuring in her previously rather quaint life. The movie explores on a larger scale, how people react and feel through moments of darkness as well as joyous ones. It touches on the importance of expressing how we feel even when it might be painful to do so. Emotions are complex and are often mixed with other feelings. ‘Inside Out’ serves as a heartfelt reminder to grown-ups and a great journey with a lesson for children that emotions are there through the good and the bad. It also makes us acknowledge that there are moments where Sadness is the only one to lead us to Joy.


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