Inside Out

by | Jun 25, 2015 | Pop Culture

Who am I? | by Flickr User s tsul | Flickr Creative Commons

One of my (many) over used phrases is “I laughed, I cried, it was an emotional roller coaster”, usually with a tone of sarcasm attached.  Well I, and apparently a lot of other people, can use that phrase with complete honesty after seeing Inside Out.  This is a great movie!  The basic idea is that there are five main emotions (Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear) that are in us and, after a little mishap with memories, Joy and Sadness need to team up to make things right.  So please allow me  to offer three quick loops on this emotional roller coaster (without giving too much away) that really stood out to me.

  • Lava– Pixar does a great job with little short films before the actual feature begins.  This is the story of a volcano who sings about a desire of being loved like all the sea creatures he sees every day.  Visually stunning and emotionally sweet.
  • Being a kid is tough!- Sometimes I forget that because, you know, the whole not having any kids thing.  Inside Out explores the emotional struggle of growing up really well.  The main idea explores the relationship between the emotions of a young girl named Riley as she struggles with growing up and moving to a whole new part of the country. Emotions in the minds of the adults are all seated and organized; in Riley’s head they are always walking around.  For me, it speaks to that idea that even though adults struggle with their emotions at times, for kids there is a certain perpetual scatteredness of their emotions and a struggle to make sense of them, which explains how my nieces and nephews can go from laughing to crying hysterically like turning on a light switch.

  • Joy and Sadness- As my friend Lauren pointed out after seeing this movie, “there is no villain”.  Sadness is not out to crush the Joy out of Riley’s life.   The battle between Joy and Sadness is not like Misers Snow and Heat.  Joy comes to recognize throughout the movie that not everything can be made better by thinking happy thoughts. Joy and Sadness are two emotions that we hold in so much tension because sometimes we want to put a positive spin on everything, but our sadness needs to be felt so we can move forward and grow.

Long story short, Pixar has done it again.  This movie has something for everyone but I think it is especially good for kids 10-13 who might resonate a lot with Riley, for parents who have kids in that age group, and for people who love a good emotional roller coaster: you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and that it exactly what the movie is going for.


Jason Downer, SJ   /   All posts by Jason