Yesterday I had a chance to see Pixar’s latest animated epic, Inside Out. Now I will provide full disclosure, the impact this tale had on me was directly proportionate to
the fact I have a beautiful two year old granddaughter and every time something happened to Riley (the central figure of the movie) I immediately juxtaposed the turmoil to Charlie. Now, with that being said, I was moved beyond the emotional outbursts of my Type “A” by the wonderful story woven with the thread of our human condition.
SPOILER ALERT (stop right here, as I am going to be talking about the movie)
Inside Out is about the life of young a young girl, Riley, as told by her emotions. Joy, Anger, Fear, Disgust and yes, Sadness.
Oscar winning director Peter Docter, who also gave us the incredible Pixar classic UP, directed and co-wrote Inside Out and his insight into our human condition is on full display as the emotional turmoil that makes us human is the proud cornerstone of the plot.
I am constantly amazed at our cultural fascination with happiness and how it seems to be the only emotion worth pursuing. Social media is filled with happiness lists. Everyday someone wants to share with you the closely held secrets of what it means to be happy. There are those who have neatly placed all of the supposedly simple steps to happiness in endless lists. Amazon has over 3,200 books available on happiness (some I am sure are outstanding). Google “happiness” and you will discover 350,000,000 places to click. We apparently live in a very unhappy place or perhaps, it’s simply we really want to study the subject like physicists are contemplating a grand unification theory. I always was partial to Viktor Frankl’s idea that you choose to be happy or choose not to be.
With all of that said, Docter instead paints a magnificent canvas that shows it is ALL of our emotions that give us our unique human condition. It is the fear of the unknown, it’s the disgust of the school bully, it’s the anger of something as simple as feeling one of life’s injustices and the sadness that comes when our heart breaks. It is the grand joy that grips our soul when just the right factors fall into place. This goulash of chemical secretions and brain waves makes us, well, us.
As I was wiping the final tears from my eyes and looked over at Laura, who’s knowing smile brought me emotional closure to this animated film (it’s NOT a cartoon), I was happy, yes HAPPY, to have once again shared a journey with the brilliant storytellers at Pixar and was reminded we are more than a single emotion, we are instead a glory of all things we feel.
Thanks Peter and your team for once again reminding us, through story, how grand our human condition is!