Pixar’s latest masterpiece is a touching look inside a tween’s mind.
Pixar’s latest movie takes us inside the mind of an 11-year-old girl, and although it is reportedly riotously funny and exciting, it is also an important lesson on film for our kids and for us. We look at some of what the country’s top critics say about the film and why it’s a crucial film for the often-forgotten tween set.
Emotions Run Wild
In the film, young Riley is going through a lot. She has moved from Minnesota to San Francisco, had a rough first day at school, has a tough time making friends and her hockey try-out was a mess. In her head, at the controls, are Amy Poehler (Joy) Bill Hader (Fear) Lewis Black (Anger), Phyllis Smith (Sadness) and Mindy Kaling (Disgust). These comedy geniuses voice all of the feelings Riley has, and their comedic prowess is fantastic in exploring the ins and outs of a pre-teen’s psyche. Joy, the main personified emotion, is far from perfect, endlessly trying to keep Sadness from Riley even though sadness is just as important as joy. Lewis Black’s Anger is a red, boiling hilarity, and Kaling is the ultimate “Mean Girl” that all tweens have inside them.
Joy Is Lost
The movie takes hold when Joy and Sadness are lost in Riley’s mind, searching for home through endless catacombs of memories. On the outside, Riley retreats into herself, left with only anger, disgust, and fear, like so many other tweens experience. The journey home is poignant and fraught with adventure, with Joy’s unending optimism bringing the young girl back to the person she was before.
A Touching Look Inside A Child’s Mind
A.O. Scott of the New York Times said the following:
“The achievement of “Inside Out” is at once subtler and more impressive. This is a movie almost entirely populated by abstract concepts moving through theoretical space. This world is both radically new — you’ve never seen anything like it — and instantly recognizable, as familiar aspects of consciousness are given shape and voice. Remember your imaginary childhood friend? Your earliest phobias? Your strangest dreams? You will, and you will also have a newly inspired understanding of how and why you remember those things. You will look at the screen and know yourself.”
Tweens Are People Too
We so often dismiss pre-teens as overly moody and too sensitive, but “Inside Out” gently and lovingly reminds us that tweens are complex and important people, just as vital to society as their older counterparts, and that we all have the five emotions in us, trying to get through life with equal parts joy, sadness, anger, fear, and disgust. It would do us well to remember that we were 11 years old once, and that those memories are just as important in our adult lives as they were when we were young.
“Inside Out” is now in theaters. Be sure to see it with your tween. You could learn something really important not only about them, but yourself as well.