By: Johanna Marano April 30, 2017
Disney Pixar’s Inside Out is such a beautiful, yet conceptual, and highly ambitious depiction of emotions. When it comes to previous films, I do not think anything can compare to it and the way it conveys the emotions we all experience on the daily. This movie is so powerful, not only for its intended younger audience, but for people of all ages. It is so wonderfully crafted that you become invested and it hits you with all the feels.
I remember taking two of the children I babysit to go see this movie when it first opened in the theaters. I was nineteen at the time and I recall it as clear as day being on an emotional roller coaster throughout the movie. The part with Bing Bong had to be the worst part; I admit to sitting in the theater and letting out a good cry. There were so many other feelings throughout, but in a good way. I recently re-watched this movie for my Young Adult Literature class and I was once again hit with all the emotions. It also made me more aware of how complicated emotions are, especially for our younger coming of age children.
Emotions are complicated on a good day to say the least. I, personally, do not even want to go back and try to remember how complicated they were around the age of eleven, the same age as Riley (our protagonist in the film). Or even the time when I first entered the world of being a teenager. It is usually no fun trying to figure out what you are feeling and why you are feeling that way, especially when these feelings are new. Sometimes you do not even have the words to describe what you feel, making it even harder to comprehend.
This is why I find this movie so innovating. Inside Out does not depict the emotions to simplify them because, as we learn in the film, they are very complex. What the film is capable of doing, is presenting emotions in a simplified format to make it more understandable for their target audience – children (and even the young adults and parents that take the kids to the movies). One of the key aspects of this format is in the presentation of the characters.
The five major emotions are personified into these very lovable characters. The design of each character is so brilliant because they are not only aesthetically pleasing but very informative. For example, Anger is red and brick-like correlating to his character emotion, where Disgust is green and almost broccoli-like in a weird kind of way (a vegetable that most kids find gross!) to symbolize her emotion. In addition, if you look closely at the emotions, they are not drawn with clear and distinct lines. This is very unlike the characters in the outside world. Instead, they seem to be fuzzy around the edges with a sort of mental energy emanating from them. I find it to be a visual representation of how the emotions are not always constant.
One of the biggest things I picked up on is how all the emotions need to work together in order to make Riley successful in life. Although Joy wants her to be happy and shield her form all things sad and bad, it is not possible. She wants Riley to be happy all the time; keeping Sadness away from Riley’s control panel for her personality and memory bank. However, this is not healthy for Riley, no person can be happy all the time. Without allowing her to feel and express these other emotions, she cannot truly appreciate the good moments in her life. Everyone needs the bad to understand and appreciate the good.
Joy realizes this when she ends up down in the memory dump. She comes across a forgotten memory that was initially sad but turned happy; one that she only recalled the happy portion from. She has this epiphany about her and her fellow emotions – they need to work together because no memory or event ever involves just one emotion. Together they help each other to create balance, complexity, and context within Riley. They are there to emphasize and embrace each other’s role. For example, Sadness was not there to bring Riley down on purpose but to act as a warning sign that something is troubling her. When Riley is able to recognize this, she can learn to talk about it or get help, instead of suppressing what she feels. If she did, this would be even more damaging to her overall personality and lead to a miserable life.
This is so important because it shows viewers, especially the target audience, that it is normal and important to feel and express these emotions. By doing so, it leads someone to have a much healthier life. I have realized this over the years and know how important it is to have this wide range of emotions. I have always been the type of person who tries to make others happy, similar to Joy. But like I mentioned before, you cannot be happy all the time. That is impossible.
I often tend to keep my emotions bottled up, which is not good. I try not to get angry in front of people; although I admit I can get a little sassy. I am also not one to be upset and cry when others are around. However, bottling emotions up is not good because there eventually comes a time when you cannot take anymore and explode. And sometimes you just need to have a good cry – it’s healthy! Usually this happens in private, but if I am with a really close friend then maybe I will show that side of myself.
But I have at least learned that I need to be able to talk about what is going on and bothering me. I admit that this can still be difficult to do. But by doing so, I can clear my head and work through what I am experiencing. Inside Out is such a beautiful depiction of all this and clearly showcases how important every emotion is not only the individual but to each other. I strongly recommended people of all ages to watch this movie.