Inside Out

Inside Out (2015)

Inside Out
8/10 by 4013 users

Growing up can be a bumpy road, and it's no exception for Riley, who is uprooted from her Midwest life when her father starts a new job in San Francisco. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions - Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness. The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley's mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. As Riley and her emotions struggle to adjust to a new life in San Francisco, turmoil ensues in Headquarters. Although Joy, Riley's main and most important emotion, tries to keep things positive, the emotions conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house and school.

Release Date:June 9, 2015
Genres:Comedy, Animation, Family
Production Company:Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Production Countries:United States of America
Director:Pete Docter, Derek Williams, Mark Sanford
Writers:, , , ,
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Plot Keywords:dream, cartoon, imaginary friend, animation, kid, family, moving, unicorn, duringcreditsstinger, pixar, 3d, emotions
  • NOT an age appropriate film - psychiatric critique
    November 5, 2015
    I declined to bring my two daughters, age 5 and 10, to this film during its theater run, despite much pleading from them under the influence of the Disney marketing machine.
    Yesterday I rented it and screened it myself before letting them see it. Today it is going back to the video store and my kids will not be watching it until they have taken psychology 101 and can weigh its value-driven abstractions from the distance of understanding, rather than with the emotionally-infused closeness of self-identification.
    A relative tried defending the movie to me by pointing out the theme is about compassion, and that there is nothing "wrong" with sadness. In as sense, this boils down to the old time-worn phrase "it's OK to cry". But nowhere does crying or sadness in this movie play the role of a release. In contrast to Anger, who builds up and explodes like a pressure cooker, sadness doesn't overflow like a bathtub or even crumble like a dam... sadness in this film lurks like a fat, nerdy misfit, subverts happiness every chance she gets, taints memories, and ultimately serves no purpose in terms of emotionally righting the ship other than drawing in sympathy and attention from "nice people".
    This view of human psychology has the typical but subtle anti-male bias. Mom's head, apparently with sadness front and center, is able to marshal measured responses of empathy, while dad's head is filled with one-dimensional mustachios bullied by anger, whose raison d'etre is ostensibly to man-up watching contact sports and to issue knee-jerk "go to your room" manifestos. I mean I understand it would be too much for a society that over-obsessed with being nice to explore in film the role that aggression plays in developing self-esteem from a healthy 11-year-old boy's perspective, but seriously? Instead, we get a highly inaccurate generalization that the journey from childhood to adolescence is accompanied by a melancholy shift in perspective based on the loss of childhood innocence. That may be part of the maturing process, but it certainly isn't the equilibrium most people operate under.
    No, the portrayal of sadness in this film is not the sadness of mourning and loss that people learn to compartmentalize when they have, for example, lost a best friend. It is the portrayal of an unchecked festering sadness. Attempts by joy to compartmentalize sadness are portrayed in this film as childish, insensitive, counterproductive, and even foolish. In an 11 year old, this kind of emergent sadness smacks of precursors to teen depression. Yes, believe it or not, the current standard of psychiatry in the US is to diagnose children as young this protagonist with depression and get out the prescription pad and the Prozac.
    As the theme of the film acknowledges, sadness is interpreted as a call out for help. But with psychotherapy on the wane, for a happy child who suddenly exhibits lingering sadness, a trip to a doctor is going to end with meds being prescribed. And as far as the film's solution - not only do none but the most emotionally supported of children always get the "shoulder to cry on" or sympathetic ear to talk to then need, but, frankly, it's not always as simple as mom or dad doling out hugs or providing time to listen. As one parody mocked, this film parades around a thinly veiled case of a child experiencing schizophrenic and bipolar episodes. You can't cure that with hugs, home-brew psychotherapy and a feel good ending.
    In the end, I would view this film as totally inappropriate for children who are old enough to "appreciate" the message of the film and to empathize with the emotions of the protagonist. For most children under 4, this film will be nothing more than another light and color show of funny characters doing silly things. For adults, it may be a key that can turn on those restrained tear-ducts for a few moments of satisfying catharsis.
    Nonetheless, I strongly discourage this film for school age children, especially girls in the 10 - 16 year old range (but really any child whose life has been affected by a pronounced source of sadness - e.g., loss of a parent or someone close, becoming homeless, loss of a pet, etc.)
    As a didactic device reminding parents to hug their children when they are sad, the film is OK. For children who feel tinges of sadness as they transition out of childhood to adolescence, the film may achieve the goal of explaining that these feelings are normal. But at the same time the film undermines the healthy process by which those transient feelings are brought into check with new touchstones of identity filled with joy that involve creation of happy memories as tween-teen's in whatever changed circumstance they find themselves. And as a vehicle for the validation of pronounced, enduring sadness in tween-teens, the film is downright misleading and inaccurate. The child who gives in to letting sadness control their life is very likely to end up being labeled "depressed", and instead of more hugs and time with mom and dad, what they can expect is a bottle of pills and daily trips to the nurse's office to ingest them.