Everyone is talking about Disney's new movie, Inside Out and with good reason; it is a smart movie with a good story and memorable characters. But, if you've been hoping for this to be the movie you need to give you a break from your 3 year old's continuous replay of Frozen in sing along mode, I think you might be a little disappointed.
Inside Out is really a lesson in psychology and brain function told from the perspective of the primary emotions inside the head of a tweenage girl; Riley. Riley grew up playing hockey, and having silly times with her parents in Minnesota. When her dad gets a new job, they have to move to San Francisco, and everything changes. This is when "Joy", the leading emotion in Riley's head, is engulfed with the challenge of keeping Riley from spiraling into depression as "Sadness" touches Riley's once happy memories and turns them sad. This could jeopardize all the important things that are so important to Riley's personality, and could change her forever.
As "Joy" and "Sadness" are trying to fix things in the long term memory bank, we see the struggles of the other emotions "Anger", "Disgust", and "Fear" as they try to figure out how to handle this new world for Riley without "Joy" and "Sadness".
This peek inside Riley's brain is both entertaining and educational. The characters are very well written, and Disney Pixar has done an excellent job of giving us a girl (Riley) that is very real. She is not your stereotypical princess type girl waiting for a prince to ride in and save the day. She is a strong, cute, hockey playing girl that loves her family and has just run into a difficult time in her life as seen primarily through the "voices" inside her head.
Older children and adults will really enjoy this movie and relate to the many emotions of Riley. Smaller children may enjoy the characters, and the vibrant colors, but they may struggle to stay focused on some of the slower parts.
I really enjoyed the film, and I think it will become an important film in teaching how the brain creates and stores memories, and the importance of having all our emotions to deal with situations. No one can be happy all the time, sometimes you have to be sad or angry. You're going to disgust things, and you need fear to keep you safe, but you can't let anyone emotion rule your life. To truly live you must allow yourself to feel. With Inside Out you will do just that!