For a synopsis of the movie, see my previous post, Psychology and Art: Inside Out.
I must preface this review with a statement: my mother is not a sensitive woman. She fails to see “the point” in becoming emotional, and until we saw Pixar’s “Inside Out” together, I had known her for 26 years and had never seen her cry. Yet, cry she did as we watched 11-year old Riley suffer all manner of emotional upheaval. After we’d left the theater, she said something that I suppose should have been obvious to me, but I nevertheless found shocking: it hurts her when I’m unhappy. A staggering concept, that a parent would take on a child’s pain, but as my mother never shows that, I’d always assumed she was indifferent to my struggles with bipolar disorder.
Why has my review only been about my relationship with my mother? Well, without giving too much away, the ultimate moral of “Inside Out,” is that it’s important to let the people who love you know how you’re feeling. The major turmoil of the film is set off by Joy and Sadness being removed from Headquarters, but before that, it’s an offhand comment by Riley’s mother about staying positive while her father is under so much stress, both from the move and starting a new business, that makes Riley reluctant to be honest with her parents about how unhappy she is.
I could talk about the glorious colors, the creative “islands” that make up aspects of Riley’s personality, a truly enjoyable sequence in which wayward feelings, Joy and Sadness, and long-neglected imaginary friend, Bing-Bong, are rushing to catch the “train of thought,” (a literal train) back to headquarters and take a shortcut through abstract thought. The joke that our heroes are literally “deconstructed” might go over the heads of younger viewers, but I can think of a certain philosophy professor from Sarah Lawrence who would chuckle. (I’m also thinking about writing a post on my personal blog analyzing how Descartes’ “I think, therefore I am” dictum holds up against the philosophy of “Inside Out”).
Any of the aforementioned aspects of the movie, and plenty I can’t reveal without giving too much away, should be enough to get some latecomers out to the theater sometime this week. But my highest recommendation I can offer just might be my stoic mother’s tears.