Inside Out – Turned Me Mentally Inside Out

I watched Inside Out over the weekend. I had been meaning to watch it since it came out but as I have next to zero extra time in Ramadan to go to the movies, I didn’t get to watch it until just now.

Like pretty much everyone else in the world, I associate Pixar with great films. I loved the Toy Story series (Toy Story 3 is near perfect) and Monster’s Inc is on of my favorite films (“Put that thing back where it came from or so help me! It’s a musical!”). Love it.

Based on the reviews, I was expecting nothing less from Inside Out.

And then I watched it.

Good movie.


Inside Out caused me incredible mental turmoil. I was in a constant state of stress and anxiety while watching it. I wish that, while I was sitting there in the theater, that I could pause it, go outside, take a few deep breaths, and return to watching the film.

So what happened, why did a kid’s film mess me up like that?

*SPOILERS* Read ahead only if you have seen the film or if you don’t mind knowing about important plot details.

The movie takes place mostly inside the head of Riley, an 11-year old girl and stars her emotions – Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust. Joy is the dominant emotion, always wanting to be in control and making sure that Riley is more happy than not.

There are core memories that make up the essence of who Riley is. All of those are ones influenced by “Joy” and are therefore happy ones that make up different aspects of Riley – her happiness revolving around family, friends, ice hockey, and so forth.

And then…

The emotions get all mixed up when Riley moves with her family.

I have to say, it’s kind of neat how whoever came up with the story depicted how the inner workings of emotions and memories works.

My main point of anxiety came from when Joy and Sadness get sucked out of headquarters and have to make their way back while keeping all the core memories together, which are no longer “plugged in” so to speak to Riley. The problem is that this is most of the movie, meaning I was in a giant ball of anxiety for most of the film.

Here’s why:
– The fact that Riley’s usual demeanor changed at a drop of a hat because of the above incident is crazy. The emotions, which she didn’t have any control over, had a squabble with set Riley in a downward spiral that led to her almost running away. All within a day!

– As it turns out, if Sadness touches a previously joyful memory, the memory itself turns from happy to a sad one with no way of turning it back. That scared me, that something could permanently turn sad without hope of it becoming joyful again.

– In regards to the core memories, there were times where it looked like either Joy may lose one or that Sadness may turn a core memory sad. Both of those scenarios were freaking me out since that would mean that Riley would forever lose something that had made her who she was in the first place.

– And dude, when Bing Bong, the imaginary friend, faded away completely? One kid in the audience burst into tears. Bing Bong no longer occupied any space in Riley’s mind. He wasn’t just gone, no memory of him even existed anymore.

Here’s the the thing – I know that the movie was going to have a happy ending and that everything was going to be resolved. But, even though I knew it, I didn’t believe it while I was watching it. I was afraid that Riley would never turn back into the person she used to be.

I get the film, I do. Joy realizes it’s not all about her and that Sadness can play a key role in Riley’s development as well – it’s okay to be sad and not have to hide behind happiness all the time. Some memories can be a bit of both and all the emotions have their place.

But for me, the lack of hope Inside Out exhibited throughout most of the film was emotionally draining.

*Whew* I feel better getting all that out.

I will forever and always look forward to and watch anything Pixar creates though. Looking forward to the next one!

6 thoughts

  1. I felt the same way! And, I felt like there was something wrong with me for not loving the movie, but like you, I didn’t really enjoy watching it.

  2. I liked Monster’s Inc. too! One of the more underrated Pixar films, IMHOTEP.

    It was so neat how they repackaged the biology of memories into an elegant system and rich world. I loved how the animation in the inner world was more reminiscent of the softer style from previous eras.

    Yeah, parts of the movie were definitely dark – Bing Bong (great name, btw) didn’t just fade from existence; he faded from existence while trying to escape the abyss of discarded the memories! That sort of reminded me of the end of Toy Story 3, when the toys are trying to escape from the fire.

    But think of things this way – the memories made later in life are richer, more lasting, and truly define who a person is.

    1. That’s a good way of thinking about it! I just wish I didn’t have to endure so much anxiety as they came to that conclusion, haha :)

      Dude, that scene in Toy Story 3… that was pretty powerful. The acceptance, the holding of hands, that got me.

  3. Salaam, I watched it over last weekend. I really enjoyed it to be honest. While I completely understand what you felt as you watched it, I guess I just appreciated how fragile we are as humans and the emotions we experience throughout life.

    I know we can all relate to the sadness and those feelings of hopelessness that may accompany periods in life….but I like how she grew and took another step while realizing that some past positive memories are no longer going to be that while their family embrace became a new happy memory.

    Definitely a somber film for much of the time outside of Riley HQ. But I told myself I’d get it on Blu-ray when it comes out.

  4. Forgive me sis I followed through on my plan – My Blu-Ray of Inside Out arrived over the weekend. But want my Amma to watch it with me this time.

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