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Inside Out and talking about feelings

23 Jun

 

rileys-emotions-inside-outSo for Father’s Day I took the kids to see the new Pixar movie, Inside Out.

I have always bee a huge fan of Pixar and its insistence on making movies that not only speak to a broad range of ages but also make a real statement that we can all learn from.

While I only saw the second and third Toy Story movies a while after they came out all of the movies from the studio (with the exception of Cars) were cinematic masterpieces. I rate the first five minutes of Up as one of the greatest pieces of filmmaking I have ever seen.

When I first saw the premise for Inside Out I was wasn’t filled with hope. In simple terms the main characters in the movie are the five emotions inside a 12-year-old girl’s head, I wasn’t filled with confidence. This is not a new concept and it can get tired very quickly. The fact that it was a Pixar movie gave me hope, because they simply do not make crap movies.

Inside Out - Emotion Poster CollaborationLuckily Inside Out does not disappoint and the grand tradition of Pixar making superb animated features remains intact.

From the cute short before the movie (about two lonely volcanoes, looking for someone to lava) to the closing credits the movie flashed by. Even the screaming child a row behind us did nothing to diminish my enjoyment of the movie.

I’m not going to post any spoilers so you can read on without trepidation. (OK there is a tiny one but its not specific at all)

What struck me as I left the cinema is that this is a movie that every parent should watch with their children, probably more than once. The sheer brilliance of it is that it provides a vocabulary for children to better express their feelings. The five characters in the movie are Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger and together they make up the emotional spectrum of Riley (the child in question). If we want to help our children mature into well rounded adults they need to be able to vocalise their emotions and this movie is the fastest cheat sheet in providing real and useful vocabulary for children.

Very minor spoiler follows:

The amazing thing is that by the end of the movie it is clear that emotions such as sadness should not be seen as a bad thing. Kids have every right to be sad, they don’t need to be happy all the time, of course we want them to be happy, but nothing we as parents can do will stop them from experiencing sadness, fear, anger and disgust. This is just the nature of things. And experiences are not singular in their nature either, we are complex beings and being able to expose children to that reality in a story that is so beautifully told is a true treat.

I am not sure if Inside Out will be top of my Pixar Top Ten, but for anyone trying to raise kids in this crazy messed up world its a real godsend.