Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Inside Out (2015)

     Inside Out (2015) [Director: Pete Docter, Ronaldo Del Carmen. Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Lewis Black et al] 11-year-old Riley is moved from Minnesota (and hockey) to San Francisco (and home sickness) by her family. The parents have their own problems, delayed moving van etc, so don’t notice Riley’s sadness. Riley herself can’t allow herself to be sad, she must be “happy”, so she runs away. But it’s her sadness that brings her back home, where she cries, and the family unite in comforting each other. Simple story, the movie complicates it by showing five emotions (Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust, and Sadness) as controlling Riley’s perceptions, action, and relationships. Depicting that emotions are us was the aim of the moviemakers. The question is did they succeed?
     Yes and no. The switching between inside and outside was generally well done, one didn’t lose track of the story. The characterisation was a bit off, Joy was too bubbly-obtuse, Anger was merely hostility instead of focussed on unfairness, Disgust was too much of a fashion queen, Fear was a nerdy drip, and Sadness was dumpy, shy, passive, and lacking in confidence. She was actually the most complicated character. The animation was very well done, the design was stereotypical Disney, the conceptualisation of the different aspects of mind and self veered from the silly (Imaginationland misrepresented that most central cognitive faculty) to the poignantly nuanced (the pit of forgotten memories).
    “Piecey” Marie said, she’s right. Overall, a good attempt at doing an inherently difficulty job. The personalisation of mental faculties has an ancient history, the literary term is psyhcomachia. Interesting to see modern version. I think the desire to make the movie accessible to all age groups caused much of the variation in quality. The audience reaction indicated that the children followed the story easily, and if my response was typical, the adults read a more complex narrative. See the New York Times article by the scientific advisors. **½

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