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I was provided with complimentary passes for a screening of Inside Out. All opinions are my own.
You know that expression “all the feels?” Well I kind of dislike it. But I’m throwing it out there, because Inside Out made me feel all the feels. I was seriously wiping my tears with buttered popcorn stained napkins while simultaneously laughing. Now if you want to see if we’re on the same page for movie love, my favorite Disney•Pixar movies are Monsters, Inc., Toy Story, and Up.
Admittedly when I first saw previews for this film, I was not excited about it. In fact, I felt confused, like I had no idea what this movie was supposed to be about. It wasn’t until I learned the story behind Inside Out that my interest peaked. Director Pete Docter saw his own daughter Ellie growing up. “My daughter did the voice of young Ellie in ‘Up’—that spirited, spunky kid with hair out to there—and she was a lot like the character at the time,” says Docter. “But by the time we started ‘Inside Out,’ Ellie was older—about 11—and she’d become quiet and withdrawn. It made me think, ‘what’s going on in her head and why is she changing?’” But then Docter recalled that era in his own life. “It’s a big deal,” he says. “The innocent bubble of childhood bursts and you feel like you’re thrust into an adult world where you’re judged and expected to behave in a certain way. You want to be cool, but you’re not really sure what that means.”
Um, yes, all the feelings, all the emotions.
The synopsis: Based in Headquarters, the control center inside 11-year-old Riley’s mind, five Emotions are hard at work, led by lighthearted optimist Joy (voice of Amy Poehler), whose mission is to make sure Riley stays happy. Fear (voice of Bill Hader) heads up safety, Anger (voice of Lewis Black) ensures all is fair and Disgust (voice of Mindy Kaling) prevents Riley from getting poisoned—both physically and socially. Sadness (voice of Phyllis Smith) isn’t exactly sure what her role is, and frankly, neither is anyone else. When Riley’s family relocates to a scary new city, the Emotions are on the job, eager to help guide her through the difficult transition. But when Joy and Sadness are inadvertently swept into the far reaches of Riley’s mind— taking some of her core memories with them—Fear, Anger and Disgust are left reluctantly in charge. Joy and Sadness must venture through unfamiliar places—Long Term Memory, Imagination Land, Abstract Thought and Dream Productions—in a desperate effort to get back to Headquarters, and Riley.
Why is Inside Out so incredible and why has it been getting such rave reviews? Because it’s real life. Relatable to everyone. It’s beautiful and different.
I have 5 girls, the oldest is about to turn 11. I can’t tell you how many meals we’ve had lately like the one above. It’s like pulling teeth to get some information about school, friends, anything. I just want to scream, “Speak to me!” But I don’t. Instead I tread lightly.
You don’t have to be a parent to enjoy this movie, in fact, it has something for everyone. I watched my kids giggle through the whole thing. Bing Bong (Riley’s imaginary friend, who is delightful in every way and brings back all the nostalgia of your favorite everythings) was their personal favorite. I heard the man behind me roar with laughter at jokes my kids didn’t understand. When I left the theater I saw a little boy lying down on a bench, saying, “That movie though,” with a big smile on his face.
This movie is for families. It is for children. It is for adults. The best is that it’s thought provoking and opens up the channels for discussion. There is a moment for me when Riley turns to her parents and says, “You want me to be happy, but I miss home.” And more of my tears started rolling. How often have I said to my daughters, “Why can’t you just be happy?” I felt shame and sadness for dismissing them like that.
Inside Out taught me that it’s alright to feel different emotions, even all at once. It’s okay to not know how or why you’re feeling a certain way. Most of the time I am the cheerleader of my friends, the positive one with a touch of sarcasm. But there are days when I want to tell people to “Suck it.” Inside Out is a creatively genius way to explain how the voices in our head work. We watch Riley’s journey as she waits to be helped and loved with the absence of Joy in her life. Life is a struggle sometimes, but sadness, fear, anger, disgust, and joy all play a real role in our subconscious. In the end we depend on our friends and family, the ones closest to us, to lift us up, to comfort us, to make us angry, to make us roll our eyes, and to make us laugh until we cry.
So in conclusion, suck it, Universal Studios, Inside Out rules! Joking. Totally joking. Inside Out opens in theaters today, June 19! Go see it, you won’t be sorry you did! Pinky promise.
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