When I heard about the concept of this movie I was pleasantly amazed and surprised. A kiddies, animation movie about the inner workings of the mind? It is the kind of storyline that you wish you would have thought of as a writer. Brilliant in its simplicity. But as usual, us bipolaroids see much deeper into things and this movie offers an entire new visual world.
This is not movie review; there are enough of those around but a few spoilers might creep in. I want to tell you about how this movie made me think about what my mind looks like. I quite like the idea of little characters looking at my life, like it’s a movie, from the inside of the mind.
So here’s the lowdown on the concept… Riley is an 11 year old girl, who moves to a new city with her parents. She has to leave her hockey team, friends and school behind. The movie is based around this major event (trigger alert!) Riley has 5 major emotions; Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Fear and Anger. Joy seems to be the ringleader and therefor Riley is a predominantly joyful child. These 5 main emotions reside and operate in her brain’s control centre which also holds her core memories. Joy tries to keep Sadness in a little corner because she turns everything blue and sad; including Riley’s experiences which turn into memories. Obviously Joy wants everything to be perky and sunny and happy. But what Riley really does experience is extreme difficulty in adjusting to her new life. An adventure starts as something goes wrong in the control centre when Joy and Sadness are flung into other parts of the brain. Thus leaving Disgust, Fear and Anger as Riley’s only emotions. These 3 aim to do what Joy would have done but clearly this does not work out at all. Instead of being sweet, Riley is sarcastic and storms off in bouts of fear and anger. At one stage she almost shuts down completely, she is melancholy and gives up her favourite sport, hockey. I won’t go any further into the movie; otherwise this post will be way too long.
Let the discussions begin! The trigger – How many times have you heard this while on the couch? Major life events are triggers. We need to take care of our emotions and voice our true feelings. Riley was not allowed that, as her mom once mentioned that she needs to be happy for her dad. Haibo, how many times have you heard this as a child? I do understand that maybe our parents’ generation just did as they were taught but kids have emotions and it is so vital to tend to them. They are so precious. As the movie shows, experiences turn into memories and memories can be good or bad. Also, Riley is 11 maybe she needed to go through this experience to learn to deal with change. Was this the right way to deal with it though? Is there a right way?
The movie made me think about what my dominant emotion would be. Would it even be possible with a bipolar diagnosis? Joy and Sadness must constantly be fighting for dominance in my mind. Or is it possible that now, with medication and understanding, all my emotions work together towards balance.
At one stage Anger is in control and he literally explodes with his little erupting in flames which causes Riley to have no filter at all. She voices her anger which causes an argument with her dad. I could actually see this happening in my own life! Anger exploding, things are said that cannot be taken back and impulsive, irrational decisions are made. When people don’t understand your disorder and this happens you seem utterly rude. Apologizing afterwards is always so embarrassing. It is even worse when you need to apologize to loved ones; they are so often the target. The question always lingers… Why can’t I just control my anger like other people do? Maybe next time I’ll say – Sorry, Anger took over the control board and all other emotions took a back seat.
The scene where Riley shuts down was so personal to me. Everything turns grey and you just exist, a bystander in your own life. You are so unhappy but you cannot voice it because you feel that is wrong, so you just stare. Nothing that used to cheer you up seems the same anymore. You have no desire to try and be happy either. That is usually where I sleeeeeep. I always say that at least in dreamland everyone knows me and I have somewhat of a purpose there. I love the theories we create to justify our wellbeing (or NOT SO WELL-being).
After watching the movie I sat and thought about my own childhood and my young emotions. As children we are so vulnerable to our immediate environment. We moved a lot when I was young and my parents’ divorce left me with so many questions. Questions that brewed inside of me which I never voiced, yet they formed my decision making later in life. These were in fact triggers to my young mind. I do not blame my parents at all as they had their own set of emotions to deal with. I was frequently confused about how I SHOULD react, so I pretended to be happy. I was an extremely fearful child who cried a lot as a baby. I remember getting tummy aches before school because I didn’t make friends easily. I knew from a early age that I was different. Was it childhood depression or bipolar, or was I just influenced and shaped by my environment. So the age old debate continues – nature versus nurture. The combination of the two makes all the sense to me.
The movie taught me that we need all our emotions and that all of them have a role to play. That is why we have them. Don’t suppress any of your emotions, rather try to understand them. Even if you need to picture them as living characters in your brain! Pixar’s Inside Out, is definitely one of my favourite movies! I recommend this movie to anyone and everyone!