An Update & “Inside Out”

Well, it’s been a while…

This past week has been a quiet one! David and I have really settled into living in Paris, and we just haven’t wanted to play the tourist much lately. When David isn’t working and I’m not reading (I finished three books this week! – Storm of Swords, Birthmarkedand Little Brother) we’ve mostly hung out at home or walked around our neighbourhood.

These days usually consist of lounging, reading, writing, visiting the butcher (seriously, I’m going to miss our butcher ), picking up some bread at the bakery across the road, and meeting David for lunch.

A few days ago we went to the community graveyard (which is quite large) and will likely go back with our camera to take some pictures. I’ll tell you more about it in another post – it’s a pretty beautiful, and sobering, cemetery.

But let’s move onto my movie review of Inside Out!

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The story of Inside Out takes place inside the head of an eleven-year-old girl, Riley. When Riley is born, we are introduced to Joy (Amy Poehler) and then 30-odd seconds later, we’re introduced to Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), and Disgust (Mindy Kaling). Things take a turn when Riley moves with her family from Minnesota to San Francisco.

As you can imagine, this move takes an emotional toll – her friends, hockey team, and school are all left behind. An accident inside “main headquarters” knocks Riley’s key memories out of place and into the other various parts of her mind. Joy and Sadness team up to restore order, leaving Anger, Fear, and Disgust behind to keep things together. Joy and Sadness travel through Riley’s brain – including Imagination, Long-Term Memory, Abstract Thought, Dream Production, the deep and dark caves of the Subconscious, and risk falling into the void of Permanent Forgetfulness – to get back home and attempt to restore the balance to Riley’s personality.

One of the best animated films I’ve ever seen – top 5, for sure.

I loved how the animators and writers imagined the inner-workings of Riley’s mind. I don’t want to spoil it for you – you really need to see it for yourself – but I also really loved Riley’s imaginary friend, Bing Bong (seriously, loved him). The casting for the voices was absolutely brilliant, too.

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I don’t really have anything negative to say about this film, to be honest. I know some reviewers have complained that the some of the storytelling didn’t make sense – Kenneth Morefield’s review on Christianity Today pointed out that:

Most allegories and metaphors break down if you push them too far. I’m not sure why the brain would treat emotions and memories the same,  or why a spaceship that has been forgotten could be used to escape a chasm of forgetfulness.

I actually found this to be quite fascinating – and it did, in fact, make sense. Personally, some of my most vivid memories are attached strongly to a particular emotion. My memories of Paris, for example, were largely negative after my first visit here in 2008. But they were negative because I remembered how I felt – overwhelmed, fearful, irritable. I think emotions and memory are inextricably linked, and I think the movie showed that in an interesting way.

As for the bit about the spaceship as a means of escape – the entire premise of the brain was creatively imagined. Why is this particular scene unbelievable? I thought it worked well.

Another especially negative review states that

Rarely have there been so many moments of isolated greatness stuck inside a story so inexorably lame. No matter what the characters accomplish in Inside Out it all basically amounts to whether bland Riley is going to smile when her bland dad hugs her. It’s a little nauseating.

I couldn’t disagree more (did this guy even watch the film?). The film is about so much more than this reviewer implies, and it has interesting little tidbits that only adults will notice. Did you notice who was the leading emotion in the minds of Riley’s parents?

It’s also interesting to note that, essentially, this movie is largely about Joy having a sort of existential crisis. Joy, though a positive emotion, is very selfish and we see the effect that has on Riley. The film seems to suggest that too much happiness is a negative thing and that we need “negative” emotions, like sadness, to create a deeper kind of joy and a fundamental appreciation for life.

Here are some interesting questions to ask yourself and maybe to start a family discussion!

  1. How much do emotions play into your ability to be good at something? For example, Riley fumbles at hockey because her emotions are out of sorts. Is this true to life?
  2. Similar to above – how much do emotions determine our behaviour?
  3. What do you make of the movie’s artistic representations of emotions? Why these specific five emotions (Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, Disgust)?
  4. What do you make of the connection between memory and emotion?
  5. Do you think that too much happiness in our lives can be a negative thing?

I highly recommend this film. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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Until next time! 🙂

 

 

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