Inside Out: A Movie Worth Your Tears

Meet all your emotions come to life on the big screen.

(Disney X Pixar)
(Disney X Pixar)

The current motion picture industry is suffering from an unquestionable scarceness of originality. Sure, it may encompass a variety of genres, fulfill the spectator’s tastes, and guarantee an unwavering audience. Yet a movie that exhibited the director’s flair for creativity has not been presented for a long time; the lack of uniqueness is clearly present in the cinema as can be seen from the bland, repetitive plotlines and characters. Pixar has managed to overturn this bleak recurrence in the movie theatres with its latest production – Inside Out. Satisfying audiences ranging from young toddlers to adults, this innovative movie offers entertainment to children and conveys intense and touching emotions of childhood memories to adults.

The plot of the movie revolves around the life of a 12 year old girl named Riley, but mainly revolves around the five emotions that supervise Riley’s daily life — Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust. The emotions, along with the so-called memory balls that contain Riley’s memories and are stored at the brain’s headquarters, shape the thoughts, memories, and future actions of Riley. From preventing Riley from eating disgustingly green broccoli to bursting to tears after losing a hockey game, the emotions, as characters, have a say in Riley’s every move. Joy, however, predominantly leads the other emotions to make the best decisions for Riley.

The conflict begins when Joy’s leadership, which has previously been perfectly on point, begins to slip when Riley’s family moves from Minnesota to San Francisco. Riley’s utter confusion in a completely new environment overwhelms her, hence putting her emotions in chaos and keeping them alert on full time with the problematic assignment of keeping Riley the cheerful Riley she has always been. (In other words, Joy is occupied full time while Sadness is wallowing over the fact that she cannot do anything to help.)

(Disney X Pixar)
(Disney X Pixar)

On top of Joy’s overflowing list of things to do, Sadness accidentally tampers with one of Riley’s core memories — which refer to the memory balls that characterise Riley for who she is — and modifies her gleeful, carefree emotions contained in the memory ball, altering it to become a melancholy memory ball. This leads to a major quarrel between Joy and Sadness over the now seemingly permanently dispiriting memory.

When things seem like they can’t get any worse, Joy and Sadness are sucked into ‘long term memory’, a maze that stores millions of Riley’s memory balls. The headquarters falls into panic mode as Joy and Sadness are whisked away. The film further progresses as Joy and Sadness futilely attempt to find a way back to the brain’s headquarters and as the other emotions hopelessly strive to keep Riley content without Joy’s leadership.

The reckless journey they confront is filled to the brim with both childhood innocence and psychological and emotional complications. From the train of thought, presented in the movie as a literal train, to Riley’s childhood imaginary friend Bing Bong who fades away from Riley’s coming of age, metaphorical elements are used throughout the movie to attract the wide variety of spectators. Directors Pete Docter and Ronaldo Del Carmen finds the flawless balance between the elements of child psychology and the heart-wrenchingly beautiful story of Riley’s coming of age and swept away the movie industry with yet another blockbuster.


– Serim Jang (’16)

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