Inside Out Review (Spoilers)

So, I haven’t had a chance to talk about it yet, but I saw Inside Out a little over a week ago. I really like it! One of the best Pixar movies in a while–if you go digging in the archives you might find the post from my OLD old site (pre-My Little Po-Mo) where I talked about my issues with Brave, and I didn’t even bother with Monsters University or Cars II. So the last Pixar movies I liked were Up and Toy Story III, and the last one I really liked was Wall-E.
But this was on that caliber, if not quite as good. A buddy road trip movie, because Pixar, but through possibly their most imaginative environment yet, and with two women as their buddies–one of whom was Amy Poehler in what I would call the role she was born to play if she hadn’t already had that as Leslie Knope in Parks and Recreation.
Of course there are flaws, the whitest, straightest San Francisco ever depicted chief among them, but on the other hand we also get one of the best depictions of depression I’ve ever seen: with Joy and Sadness both banished as a result of Riley’s mind’s attempt to protect itself from the trauma of being uprooted and placed in a strange environment, she finds herself incapable of feeling anything but Anger, Fear, and Disgust, and then her personality begins shutting down entirely, her inner landscape turning gray and crumbling. It is, frankly, chillingly familiar–an immediate recognition of “yes, that’s what it’s like” that is all-too rare in mass-media depictions of mental illness. 
It is, fortunately, a situational thing, and once Riley permits herself to feel and express Sadness again, she is able to begin healing. I really hope the poor kid gets some therapy, though. 

4 thoughts on “Inside Out Review (Spoilers)

  1. Interesting post, Shannon! And yeah, that’s exactly what I was going for: the danger of repressing any emotion, even supposedly a negative one, as a form of defense. It’s effective at the time, but can have serious long-term consequences.
    Huh. I thought I’d imported Animated Discussion as well as My Little Po-Mo into this blog when I launched it, but apparently not. The piece on Brave (and Korra season 1) is here:
    Note, though, that it’s three years old, and thus reflective of me three years ago, both in terms of my views and in terms of my analytical and writing skills (all of which, I hope, have improved and matured).

  2. Augh, looking at your blog, I’m now seeing that you wrote about Avatar, but only up to the end of Season 1! I’m watching it now (Chris is too, but he’s seen it before) and I’d love to see your thoughts on all of it. It’s shockingly deep and yet light-handed for a kid’s show or any show, really.

  3. I knew you’d like this one. I honestly think it’s Pixar’s best movie (and I ranked WALL•E on my top 10 list of all time, so that’s saying something).
    There were so many things to love about this movie, from the pointing out of the benefits of the supposedly “negative” emotions like anger, disgust and fear, to all the little easter eggs they put in to show off their research. Among the many, many projects I keep meaning to get around to one of these days is making a big video analyzing Inside Out and talking about how it stands apart from the usual portrayals of the whole field of psychology in pop culture.

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