Friday, November 13, 2015

"Inside Out" (2015)

In a very important way, “Inside Out” is Pixar returning to form. They have introduced us to an imaginary world that feels completely thought out. It is also something that all of us at one time or another have imagined. Just as we (or at least I) used to wonder if our toys came to life when we were away, or what life must be like on the scale of a bug, here we get the little people inside us. Others have done it for TV or movies before. However, Woody Allen played the concept for a brief sketch of a joke and “Doctor Who” took the literal, vehicle disguised as a human approach.

What Pixar excels at is taking such widespread concepts and using them very effectively to make a point. Here, since it is the emotions that control the individual without “being” the personality, we have a great metaphor for the way our emotions really work. They can step in and take control, but we are not merely our emotions. It is also fascinating to consider some of the choices the made and the truths that they convey. For instance, the way that our protagonist’s emotions battle for control since she is a child, while the adults’ emotions function much more as a team. And it is curious that the father’s driving emotion is anger while the mother’s is sadness.

I love the decision the filmmakers made to have our main lesson be that sadness had to save the day. Twenty years ago this would have been a film all about how joy had to overcome sadness. It is a much truer message to say that sadness is vital. And that feelings of nostalgia and sadness are healthy, whereas the truly negative state is emotionlessness. The depiction of depression here is spot on.

Another triumph.

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