This weekend, the Higham family went to see the new movie, Inside Out, by Disney and Pixar Studios. I have to say, we were really excited to see the movie. It looked like something we would all like. And by all, I mean everyone from the 17 year old to the 6 year old. Unfortunately, after seeing the movie, while it was cute, and had a great message, it wasn't a movie for everyone.
The story is clever; a young girl, Riley, moves with her parents from her home town to San Francisco, CA. Riley's life to this point is marked by wonderful, happy memories, created by the feelings she experiences with each new encounter. These feelings are played out as 5 characters named Joy, Fear, Sadness, Disgust, and Anger. Joy is the ring-leader, working to keep the memories happy. Trouble comes when after the move, Sadness starts touching the memories, turning what were once happy memories into a sad memories. Things get messy as the reality of the move begins to weigh heavy on Riley as the emotions work to keep her happy. But crisis ensues when Joy and Sadness are sucked up into a tube that sends then to Long Term Memory leaving Anger, Fear, and Disgust at the control of Riley's emotions.
Story-wise, the movie is good. I actually enjoyed seeing the various emotions show their attributes. There were a number of scenes that were very cleverly written, with humorous bits that definitely had the adults in the theater laughing. And the slip-stick, silliness of the characters worked to keep the kids entertained. But I think if you were to ask me if the movie hit it's mark, I'd have to say, who or what was the mark?
After the movie was over, we asked our kids what they thought? While our 15 year thought it was good; had a good story, and understood some of the emotional context of the characters and the movie, our 6 year old said she didn't get it. Because the movie invests most of the movies storyline, the problem, the climax and the resolution in understanding the importance of each emotional role, she just didn't understand the point of the movie. For her, it was a movie where the characters of Joy and Sadness tried to get back to the control room. The ironies of emotions was completely lost on her.
Adults should have no problem enjoying the movie. Like I said, it's been cleverly written with lots of humor and comedic bits that adults will be familiar with, having already experienced some of the emotions found in the movie. But as to it being a kid movie, I don't think it works. Sure they will laugh and think the characters themselves are funny as they interact with each other. But I think that those under ages 8 or 9 will find it hard to fully 'get' the movie itself.
For teens, this one might help them understand why their emotions sometimes get the better of them. As I was watching the emotions do their thing, I couldn't help but see this a possible discussion started with my teenager kids. I sat there wondering if they were catching some of the emotional issues and if it related to where they were emotionally?
So if you're thinking about taking the family out to see, Inside Out, just keep in mind that your younger kids might not sit for the whole movie. Otherwise, it is a good, safe family movie that will certainly give you and your older kids something to talk about.
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