My inside take on Inside Out

Today I'm taking my kids to see the new Pixar movie, Inside Out. As a therapist, I am really excited to see the movie so I thought I'd write a "prescreening," here's-what-I'm-hoping-for bit. Then, after I've returned from the movie, I'll write about my thoughts and experiences of it.

There is great potential for this movie. I've seen a preview or two, I've read a little bit about it so I know just that much. I don't really know what the plot is or anything outside of that.

I really hope that each of the feelings characters (Joy, Anger, Sadness, Fear, and Disgust) are fully developed and that we will get to see how they affect the girl, Riley, as each one has the spotlight. I hope that Riley will be able to note that she has feelings but will be able to see that they are all there inside of her even when they're not currently taking the stage. I hope that we will be able to see Riley acknowledge and accept her feelings and not judge them, or herself, for having them. In other words, I hope that she will be able to say "I'm feeling sad right now but I know that sometime soon I will feel joyful again. I know that my sadness is serving a purpose in my life, just as joy does."

I hope that each of the feelings are shown to have some balance. I hope that we will see that even though Sadness is not fun to experience, it is a necessary emotion and one that helps us to grieve and heal from loss. I hope that we will see that Anger isn't negative but is a way that we can know something is wrong and we need to try to fix it or accept it or at least find a way to cope with the cause of it and that if we are violent or hurtful to others when we're feeling angry, it only makes more problems for us. I hope Riley has some anger management skills!

I hope that Fear keeps Riley out of dangerous situations and helps her to be cautious and careful but is not seen as paralyzing. I don't know about Disgust. It will be interesting to see how that is used in the movie. Finally, I hope that Joy is also shown with balance. Being "too joyful" could lead to risks or inattention to details or "rose colored glasses" which cause actual harm to be ignored, leading to problems. In short, I hope that the characters work together and each is shown to have a very important role in Riley's life. I hope at the end of the movie my kids will see that even "negative" feelings like Anger, Fear and Sadness are part of every person and not things we want to get rid of but rather things we want to learn how to balance and use to help us meet our needs. Will I be disappointed? Will I run out and buy action figures of each of the characters immediately following the movie? Will Inside Out become my favorite movie of all time? I may have set myself up to be disappointed with such lofty hopes for this movie. Stay tuned...

Image courtesy of Pixar... I hope they don't sue me--I'm kind of advertising for them... :)

Image courtesy of Pixar... I hope they don't sue me--I'm kind of advertising for them... :)

Okay, I was not at all disappointed. I don't want to give any spoilers so I won't say much about it but I wouldn't have changed a thing in the movie. It was very good. Go see it. I thought they did a great job of helping viewers understand what therapy is about and why it works even though that wasn't an explicit goal of the movie. I laughed, I cried, I will watch it again, and I may be in the market for action figures...