WARNING: SPIOLER ALERT: This blog will reveal plot points of the movie Inside Out!
I have been anticipating the Disney Pixar movie Inside Out since I first heard about it months ago. I went to see it on opening day with my husband and three boys, ages 15, 17 and 20. Right there, the movie was already awesome because I have teen boys as excited to see this movie as I was! And we all were there together!! And we had a fabulous conversation about it afterward!!! So, all in all, the movie could have stunk and it would still have been a great outing for this Mom. But it didn’t stink. It was rich, fun, silly and deep.
The movie starts with a young girl, Riley, whose ruling emotion is Joy, assisted by Anger, Fear, Disgust, and…occasionally…Sadness. She has core memories, all filled with joy. She has islands that define who she is…Family, Honesty, Friendship, Goofball, and Hockey. As Riley’s life circumstances become more challenging and complicated, her emotions are forced to face challenges and complexity as well. Joy realizes that Sadness serves a purpose, allowing Riley to connect with others in her vulnerability and leading to more authentic experiences of a full life. Riley can’t be happy all the time; that is not a true experience of life. I say this so often in therapy with clients, that I wrote a whole previous blog about it! Riley forms new core memories that include Joy and Sadness, often together in the same memory; Sadness from a loss, and Joy from the comfort and connection she receives in her grief.
Riley’s islands of her Self collapse throughout the movie, as she struggles against change. Her life unravels as she falls into an uncontrollable downward spiral. Anger, Fear, and Disgust take over. By the end of the movie, Riley (and Joy) accept the essential need to acknowledge and accept sadness and seek support and connection in that sadness. In the process, Riley rebuilds some of her original Self Islands and builds some new ones, integrating her more mature, complex views of her Self.
This is a great movie to open a discussion about feelings and memories and how we view ourselves and the world. It did just that for my family. We went out for dinner after the movie and talked and talked. What are our core memories? Do core memories change? What are our defining Self Islands? Do those change? Have they changed for us?
I love a move that sticks with you, that gives you rich topics to discuss. Of course, I love talking about feelings a lot, too! So, overall, a perfect movie for me! And my boys loved it too, so that was icing on the cake!