Disclaimer: Disney/Pixar sent me to Los Angeles on an all-expenses paid press trip, in exchange for my coverage of these events, which included attending the INSIDE OUT Red Carpet Premiere. What follows is my INSIDE OUT Movie Review for Parents. All opinions are my own.
The much anticipated Disney*Pixar animated film, INSIDE OUT, couldn’t have been released at a more perfect time.
It’s been an incredibly emotional week.
Those 5 emotions that you’ve been seeing everywhere (JOY, ANGER, FEAR, SADNESS, DISGUST)….well, they’ve been taking up space in my head this week. Even DISGUST made a special appearance, as some of you might have heard about a recent visit by the plumber and his work in my kitchen right after, well, we don’t need to go there. Needless to say, it was an EWWWWW moment!
But INSIDE OUT focuses on the emotions of Riley, a girl just a few years older than my daughter. And that has me thinking about how emotional my daughter’s week was. And which emotion was in the control seat.
“INSIDE OUT” CHANGED MY DAUGHTER’S LIFE!
I’ve got a lot to say about this movie. It’s stirred up a lot of conversation in our house. And as a parent, that’s a good thing. We are reaping the benefits right now and I’ve got tears of JOY!
But let me back pedal just a tiny bit and introduce you to INSIDE OUT and the storyline. Then we’ll chat…..
At 11 years old, Riley is at such a crucial stage.
As a parent of one approaching the tween years I paid extra attention to her.
I watched her even more closely when I discovered she is an only child, just like my daughter.
Right away I could relate…..and so could my daughter.
So happy. So funny. So in charge…..as it should be. You see, Joy runs the show at Headquarters, the inside of Riley’s brain and center of her emotions.
While I think that Joy would much prefer to run the show by herself, she is joined by Anger, Disgust, Fear and Sadness, each character absolutely hilarious in their own way.
Did you know that when Disney*Pixar began research for the film, they worked with many in the “Brain” field – you know, neurologists and such? They quickly were told there were 6 emotions. The 6th one – PRIDE.
Well, after much thought and deliberation, the team at Disney*Pixar decided Pride had no place in INSIDE OUT (I’m thinking he or she just wouldn’t have been so funny). This was a little tidbit I learned from attending the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration in Orlando this past May when Pixar producer Jonas Rivera spoke!
These balls you see here at headquarters – they are memories, Riley’s memories in particular.
You see most of them are yellow – that means JOY. That’s good news for any parent, right?
Riley so far in this picture has had days filled with mostly joy. I see a few other memories which are red, blue, etc……but overall life is good.
What you are seeing here are basic memories before they head on over to Long Term Memory. But there is a special set of balls, memories, which are important in this film (and well basically, LIFE) and those are your CORE MEMORIES. Those are incredibly important.
In addition to everything at headquarters, Riley has ISLANDS – these make up her personality. For Riley, and many children, they include:
- Family Island
- Friendship Island
- Goofball Island
- Hockey Island (her favorite sport/hobby)
- Honesty Island (she just always tells the truth/confesses)
But even in a happy childhood, things don’t always go as planned. You see, Riley’s family has to move from a much-loved home and community and relocate far away to San Francisco.
As a child who had to move with my parents to another state, I could relate. There are so many emotions you are dealing with, and Riley was younger than I was when the move happened.
The mostly yellow balls and memories, you know, the JOY ones, were now being replaced. It was becoming WAY to colorful at headquarters.
Blue Memories – Sadness – she missed her home, her friends, her old Hockey team.
Purple Memories – Fear – first day of a new school, strange noises in the new house.
Anger and Disgust make more appearances than usual too (I mean, San Francisco really did ruin pizza, at least in the movie)!
Things were not going well at all.
As a parent, I watched from Riley’s perspective and realized that while I knew just how much the parents had on their plate (we see Dad struggle with his new job a bit), I don’t think they were paying as much attention to what was going on with Riley.
Something important I took away from the film……think about every experience from a child’s perspective and even be willing to share YOUR emotions. Riley needed to know she wasn’t the only one feeling sad and scared.
But something unexpected happens with Riley…..
But when Joy and Sadness are inadvertently swept into the far reaches of Riley’s mind—taking some of her core memories with them—Fear, Anger and Disgust are left reluctantly in charge. Joy and Sadness must venture through unfamiliar places—Long Term Memory, Imagination Land, Abstract Thought and Dream Productions—in a desperate effort to get back to Headquarters, and Riley.
It’s during this time that Riley starts changing. Her personality changes (islands like Goofball Island start disappearing)….and I could understand. Think about it, when you are dealing something that affects you so much – a move, an illness, grief, you just don’t feel like doing anything. You certainly don’t laugh as much.
BRING A TISSUE:
But here’s where I am going to stop. I’m not going to tell you what happens to Riley.
There are no deaths. Riley’s family is in tact. Everything is okay. But it’s a process. And it’s sweet. And it’s scary. And it gets a parent to thinking.
I don’t think kids will get teary during this movie, though I’m about to find out when I take my daughter this weekend.
As a parent, there are a couple moments where you realize a few things. You see something happen in Riley and you’ve either been there or will be soon. You say goodbye to childhood just a little bit through an incredible character, BING BONG!
I’d love to spend time talking to neurologists and psychologists about this movie because there is SO MUCH in there.
YOU NEED ALL THE EMOTIONS:
One of the main realizations you walk away with in the film is that you need every single emotion.
Each one has a role:
- Joy – make sure Riley stays HAPPY
- Anger – making sure things are FAIR for Riley
- Fear – PROTECTS Riley
- Disgust – prevents Riley from getting POISONED either physically or socially
- Sadness – ???
Do you need Sadness? After all, some of the funniest parts of the movie are watching how the other emotions try to keep Sadness away. They don’t want her touching anything. But in the end, you see first hand how Sadness saves the day and Riley. Riley needs to allow Sadness to do her job. And that’s true with you and I – there is a reason we have that emotion. It helps us process things. And you’ll see that first hand in the movie.
The movie got me thinking about memories in general, but specifically about core memories. As a child, hopefully like Riley, most core memories will be joyful…..but as you get older and life happens, some core memories aren’t yellow.
In fact, I thought about my own life and how it was changed with the passing of my mom. Talk about a core memory. It’s blue. And there’s no changing that. And the sadness, it has affected Joy-ful core memories (just like in the movie)……..some memories have more than one color (something we don’t see in the movie until later).
I use the example of my daughter’s birth. I experienced JOY because I was having a little girl. But I have to admit there was SADNESS and plenty of tears because I so missed my mom. Oh, and I can say there was FEAR of labor/delivery? 🙂
WHO’S IN CHARGE?
We get a glimpse of inside Mom and Dad’s brain during the film at one point.
- Did you notice who is in charge at Mom’s headquarters? Sadness
- Did you notice who is in charge at Dad’s headquarters? Anger
Food for thought.
Why INSIDE OUT has changed my daughter’s life!
There is no doubt that INSIDE OUT is incredibly funny – I laughed thoughout.
But the takeaways are priceless.
These characters help young children express what is going on with their emotions. For young children, they could point and tell you how they are feeling. For older children, it helps them vocalize what’s going on……and even understand their brain a bit.
While I like to think that JOY is in control a lot of the time in my 7-year old daughter, I’ll admit that there’s another emotion who likes to take over way too much. His name – FEAR!
Enter the season of swimming lessons.
Every since she was a little girl, my daughter has not liked water. She won’t take a shower. Won’t get her face wet. And swimming lessons…….we’ve tried group, we’ve tried private, not much has worked over the years. And there’s nothing worse than watching your child in tears screaming during a lesson. She needs to know how to swim. Fear would agree with me that it’s a safety thing.
BUT THIS WEEK – we’ve been able to talk about how we need Fear (just like how Riley needed Sadness). Fear has a place to keep us safe. But fear can’t be at the controls. And you know what? My little girl began swim lessons on Monday never having been able to put her head under water……and while there were a few tears, she dunked her head that day. By Tuesday she was swimming underwater by herself.
I’m in tears as I type this.
I’m grateful to Disney*Pixar and know that my daughter won’t be the only child who benefits from this movie!
As I’ve said before…..There are no princesses. There are no dragons. But this film is extraordinary.
INSIDE OUT is in theaters everywhere TODAY, June 19th!
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