Before you continue reading on, I’m going to give you the courtesy of a *SPOILER WARNING* if you haven’t seen Inside Out yet. Not that what I’m going to talk about is earth shattering “Dumbledore dies” or “Red Wedding” material, but you should experience this movie yourself first before reading this. And you can’t get mad at me for saying the stuff about Dumbledore because if you didn’t know that by now…where have you been the last ten years? And how did you manage to live a Harry Potter spoiler-free life until now? Tell me your secrets.
Okay. Now that’s out of the way! Inside Out is Pixar’s 15th feature film and their most important (to me, anyway). And not because it features two of my favorite funny women, Amy Poehler and Mindy Kaling, although that definitely adds to its awesomeness. The movie is focused on an eleven year-old girl named Riley and the emotions (or voices rather), inside her head. This might sound kind of heavy for a Pixar movie but one of the beautiful things about it is how Pixar makes it entertaining (for both kids and adults) and easy for kids to understand by having these funny, entertaining characters be the emotions: happiness, sadness, disgust, anger, and fear.
In the film, Riley goes through a major life event for an eleven year old when she moves to a new town away from her friends and everything she knows. And she tries so hard to stay her bright and positive self through it. And the character of happiness is trying so hard to make sure she stays happy too. But, it’s the character of sadness who is the voice of reason and shows happiness that sometimes you need to let the sadness come through in order for things to get better.
And when she can’t take it anymore, Riley breaks down in front of her parents who she said she would stay strong for. And it’s a family moment where Riley and her parents lean on each other and that sad memory will turn into a happy memory where Riley can remember how strong her relationship with her parents really is.
And that’s when I cried silently in the theater. AGAIN PIXAR WITH THE TEARS! But this is important. Through Pixar’s storytelling, they are starting the conversation with young kids that it’s okay to be sad. It doesn’t have to be sunshine and rainbows all the time and actually, it’s kind of impossible for it to be – and that’s okay! You can feel all of the things! As someone who is pretty open about talking about my depression and anxiety, I hope that this will make other young people struggling with their thoughts and feelings to be open about it and ask for help. You should not be ashamed or apologize for what you’re feeling because most of the time you have no control over it anyway. My hope is that maybe someday we can talk about mental illness like we talk about diabetes or asthma or the weather. Or what happened last night on Game of Thrones (but be careful with that one).
So thanks Pixar for creating another incredible movie. And if you haven’t seen it – go, go, go!