– Jacob Kamal Malik
It seems that Pixar’s animated films always find a way to touch the heart, or in the case of their latest film, Inside Out, the mind. The film centers around five emotions that live in the head of a young girl named Riley and their contributions to her every action and memory: joy, sadness, disgust, fear and anger. Inside Out explores certain psychological topics such as personality, emotion, memory, dreaming, depression, the unconscious mind, and many more in such a way that young children can be taught about these topics in a relatable and simple way.
The film’s main conflict revolves around Riley’s family moving from one place to another and how this deeply affects her emotional and psychological state. Her primary emotion, Joy, is at one point in the film nearly forgotten in the dark and bleak chasm of forgotten memories, symbolizing the young girl’s loss of joy of being away from her comfortable childhood setting. Ironically, it was Joy’s antithesis Sadness that manages to help Riley overcome her struggle and bring Joy back into her life.
The film’s vibrant use of colour, humour, easy to understand language, and series of relatable ideas, such as fear felt on the first day at a new school or of a scary clown, really bring psychology to the masses. Furthermore, one of the major supporting themes is that a family and how much of an impact they make on an individual’s emotional state. Funny enough, the film even manages to give a preview of the emotional workings of her father and mother who each had their own primary emotion, anger and sadness respectively. It is these little touches that really make this film great.
While being simplistic and yet at the same time deeply symbolic, this film is a must see for anyone, young or old, who has an interest in psychology.