Last week my five-year-old brother and I got to watch Inside Out, the animated movie that has hit it big on the big screen. Although I was not expecting it at all, it makes sense that this movie brought out the emotional side of me as it was directed and co-written by Pete Docter, the same man who ingeniously came up with “Up.”
Inside Out has several critical take-home lessons for not only kids but adults too. In a captivating manner, it will make you laugh, and tear up all in one as it shows you what each individual potentially goes through internally. It is a brilliant work that has gotten stunning reviews on several movie critic websites. The storyline is creative and ingenious, as you would think that a movie, and animation non-the-less, describing your emotions for 102 minutes would be long and draining, yet there is always something unexpected lying around the bend with this movie.
It starts at the beginning of life. The start of every human story is at birth, and this is where our main character, Riley’s (voiced by Kaitlyn Dias) story begins. The very first emotion appears and her name is Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler). Looking out through Riley’s eyes she is in awe of the world around her. Just when she thinks it will be her only inside Riley’s psyche other emotions begin to appear.
Soon we are introduced to the rest of the cast, Riley’s other emotional helpers being Anger (voiced by Lewis Black), Fear (voiced by Bill Hader), Disgust (voiced by Mindy Khaling *who also happens to be one of my favourite actresses from The T.V show, The Mindy Project*), and finally Sadness (Voiced by Phyllis Smith).
The emotions live in Headquarters, the control centre inside Riley’s mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. In her control centre, Riley’s lasting and defining memories have built up to create little islands, such as The Friendship Island, Family Island, Goofy Island, and Honesty Island. These islands define her personality and make her who she is.
Joy who is decidedly in charge of Headquarters makes it her quest to make Riley’s core memories- the ones that she will remember forever- only happy memories. She believes that Riley should foremost be the happy little girl her parents love. All this isn’t hard to do until Riley’s family moves to San Francisco.
With a dingy, little house, a new school, and a dad who is busy on the phone and going for meetings a lot of the time it is hard for the emotions to adjust and Riley almost doesn’t know how to react until Joy steps in and tries to put a positive spin onto all the negative influences on her life.
During this time Sadness feels left out, and since Joy doesn’t ever want Riley to be sad she doesn’t seem to know what the purpose of Sadness is in Riley’s life. When the crew thinks things are bad, they take a turn for the worse when Sadness makes a mistake that causes her and Joy to be removed from headquarters and thrown into the farthest parts of Riley’s brain.
This starts a journey on its own where the perfect peppy Joy has some lessons that she didn’t realize she needed to learn from the one person she thought was unimportant, Sadness…
Believe me, when you least expect it, this movie will touch your very being with its warmhearted nature and experiences that are so relatable to our lives. The biggest lesson I personally learned from it is that all emotions are good emotions.
We tend to hide what we don’t like feeling, but from my mother who is a psychologist, I learned that you have to teach yourself to express yourself. Sometimes it only makes the situation worse to hurt behind a smile. Sometimes what we all need is a good cry, to release all the pent-up feelings inside. Or a rant that includes every emotion you can describe in as many words as you can use to describe them.
This is a huge lesson that must also be taught to the next generation. Children need to learn that it is okay to express themselves in a way that brings about healing, instead of holding it in and causing more pain. For these and more reasons, Inside Out should definitely be rated as a 21st-century classic.
Rating: PG (for mild thematic elements and some action)
Shingai is an upcoming writer with a passion for words and expression through writing. She lived in Zimbabwe as a child and has traveled to over ten countries. She craves adventure and hopes to be an inspirational writer. She is currently pursuing a degree in English Literature with a minor in Psychology at Daystar University.