I finally got around to seeing Inside Out last week, and I was stunned at how great it was. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a movie that managed to be funny, moving, and intellectually compelling. Disney continues to nail it.
Disney always puts out excellent movies, and I think that the big reason is that they hire the best writers and directors. Pete Docter–the director and one of the writers on Inside Out–is a certified genius. He’s been nominated for 6 Oscars, and won 1 (For Up, a beautiful movie) Check out his filmography. He’s hardly had a single miss.
It doesn’t matter if it’s in a song, a book, tv show, or a movie, story must always come first. Disney gets that.
Warning: Some spoilers below
What really struck me was how well they portrayed how the human brain works, and especially the function of Sadness. It’s all a metaphor of course, but it’s true. Sadness is the hero of the story. The other emotions stifling her is what causes the trouble, and her taking control at the end is what ends it. As Rosey Grier once sang: “It’s alright to cry. Crying gets the sad out of you.”
It also created a great allegory for depression. One by one, the aspects of her personality crumbled until her emotions were locked out of the controls and she felt nothing. That’s what Depression is. it’s not Sadness, it’s Apathy. You don’t feel joy, you don’t feel anger. You don’t feel. You lose your personality. As someone who has fought with depression (and mania, and anxiety) for most of my life, I understand. I hope other people understand too.
And when Bing Bong (Riley’s childhood imaginary friend) sacrificed himself…
The moral of the story is that as you age, your emotions and memories become more complex. A memory can be colored (in the movie, literally) with joy, sadness, fear, anger, and disgust. To a child, everything is one emotion or another. To an adult, nothing is.
This chart only shows when two emotions combine. What do you get when three, four, or five do?
On a side note, the short in the beginning, Lava, was emotionally manipulative and made me cry. Fuck that shit. I hate crying at movies, and I hate having my buttons pushed.
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