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Inside Out is a funny, witty, and clever movie portraying the role of human emotions in a very touching sensible story. The story is about a life of a girl who is facing a significant transition in her life.

“Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) is a happy, hockey-loving 11-year-old Midwestern girl, but her world turns upside-down when she and her parents move to San Francisco. Riley’s emotions — led by Joy (Amy Poehler) — try to guide her through this difficult, life-changing event. However, the stress of the move brings Sadness (Phyllis Smith) to the forefront. When Joy and Sadness are inadvertently swept into the far reaches of Riley’s mind, the only emotions left in Headquarters are Anger, Fear, and Disgust”.

The core emotions of human beings are Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust. These emotions are learned emotions; these emotions exhibit themselves in one’s life based on one’s experiences and learning in relationships.  The emotions, in this movie, are beautifully externalized. Emotions act independently and co-dependently with other emotions. Emotions are triggered/ activated due to a major change in one’s life.  The interactions between emotions are utterly amusing and amazingly constructed.

In a process of helping a person regain her/his well-being, emotions play a big role. Emotions are expressions of life. What one learns through social interactions is translated to the formation of various forms of emotions. One’s relational learning has gradually become associated with specific emotions which get expressed in daily interactions with others and ourselves.

Inside Out is not only about Riley’s journey of adaptation with a new life, it is also about collaborative work of emotions. In this journey, the core emotions learn new things about each other, they learn the necessity and usefulness of each in one’s life. They learn to work together to respond to particular situations more positively.

The moment that Joy learns Sadness has usefulness is priceless. The moment that Anger, Fear and Disgust have to run Riley’s headquarters is superb as they have to compensate for other emotions such as Joy and Sadness.

The screen players of Inside Out have done a great job in the characterization of the core emotions.  Throughout the movie, these messages are implicitly echoed: the core emotions are trainable; they are constructed in a specific context; they are changeable; they are flexible and playful; they are interchangeable; they are responses to specific conditions in life. No emotion is fixed.

It is a very optimistic movie as it shows us to work with our own emotions and regulate/train/tame them in creative ways that make us re-connected with self and others.

If the goal of one’s life is to re-bounce from disconnection and if it is to re-connect with self and others, this movie illustrates this perfectly.  I wonder if this movie is shown at schools and I could just imagine what effects it would have on children and perhaps their parents.

Happy to see Pete Docter and his crew brought this invisible and covert subject to life in this great animation movie!  If you haven’t seen it, it is highly recommended.

Happy possibilities,

Tahereh Barati

 

 

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