Not all movies make me cry. I’m not necessarily a major weeper, but if a movie or a TV show strikes just the right chord, then my tears are a melody of all my feels.
That being said, there are some movies that make me cry more than most – and make me cry every time I watch them. This is one of those movies. (Beware: there might be spoilers, but I tried hard not to spoil this one since it’s so new.)
I know what you’re thinking. A Pixar movie about emotions made me cry? That’s shocking! This is completely unexpected!
It’s not like it’s from the same studio that made everyone with a heartbeat cry within the first five minutes of Up.
Oh wait. It is.
I know it’s not a surprising thing that the latest Pixar movie made me cry. I know it’s not really that shocking that waterproof mascara was required lest I fall victim to another X-Men situation. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t spend a bit of time explaining why.
Without giving too much away, Inside Out takes us inside the emotional centre of 11-year-old Riley’s brain as she tries to cope with moving from her happy, familiar home in Minnesota to her scary, uncertain home in San Francisco. Her parents, though still loving, are distracted with the change and don’t notice that as Riley tries to put on a brave face, she’s losing her former cheery self.
There are so many levels to this movie, it’s basically an onion – like Shrek. Plus it makes you cry, so it really completes that whole onion analogy.
As the outside world sees Riley struggling to fit in at a new school, snapping at her parents and going from a happy little girl to a moody pre-pubescent young lady, her emotions have a story of their own.
Joy and Sadness (Amy Poehler and Phyllis Smith respectively) are lost and need to find their way back to emotion headquarters where Disgust, Fear and Anger (Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader and Lewis Black) are trying to right Riley’s emotional ship.
Pixar does what it does best with this one, plus a little more.
Instead of just taking us through a profoundly personal story, much like it did with Up, Toy Story, Wall-E and pretty much any other Pixar flick, Inside Out forces you to also look inside yourself.
Up may have made you think differently about a cantankerous old man you know, Toy Story may have made you afraid of your toys, and Wall-E may have turned you into a eco-friendly, recycling fiend, but I dare say none of them made you stop and think about what your core memories are that make up your personality, or which emotions are in control in various situations, or how exactly that one annoying TV commercial jingle keeps playing in your head.
Director Pete Docter gives us a special gift with this film: the chance to visualize the very abstract idea of emotions, and give a voice to each one of them.
As he explains in an interview with Grantland, “Every emotion you have has a legitimate reason for existing and [is] an assistance to you.”
So it’s totally okay that for the last 20 minutes of this movie, I just sat in the theatre with a waterfall of tears falling down my face. Because sometimes Sadness is in control and you just need to have a good cry.