My slightly spoilery review of Inside Out

This started as a quick take or Facebook post, but got out of control. If you want to avoid spoilers, skip the fourth paragraph (the one that starts “Even the things that didn’t speak to my experience”)

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We took the kids to Inside Out on opening night. It’s a great movie. Just wonderful. I recommend you go.

I hated it.
As you probably know, the movie takes place inside the head of an 11-year-old girl. This girl, like all of us, has old memories that are fading, disintegrating, and just plain disappearing (independent of the ones that are collapsing under the weight of stress). But her past is basically a recreation of my family’s present and to see disappear before my eyes hurt. There’d be a memory of her dancing and laughing as a toddler and it was so ‘Eleanor’ it would take my breath…then it would turn to dust and be gone forever.
Even the things that didn’t speak to my experience hurt. I never had an imaginary friend myself, and neither have any of my kids, so I never expected myself to be sobbing in public over the fate of one. I’m crying actual tears right now just thinking about it.
I’m just tired of every Pixar movie I see being a punch to the gut. Crying is a given, but sometimes it’s a good cry (Up). Sometimes it feels almost cruel, like they can’t help but rip my heart in two (Toy Story 3). This was definitely the latter. On steroids. In a sense, those movies were about having happy memories of times past, but in this one it’s clear that you physically can’t hold on to all those happy memories. No matter how sure you are you’ll never forget XYZ, it’s entirely possible you will.
I basically walked out of there thinking life is meaningless, because in 10 years everything that seems important now will be a distant memory. Will I or any of my kids remember the fun things we do this summer? Almost certainly not. So what’s the point? (Clearly, I’ve chosen to take the pessimistic view.)

Comments

  1. Awwwww! I loved the movie so much, but totally get what you mean and how these things that we treasure so much right now and hope we always remember and THEY always remember very well may turn to dust, but I just hope and pray that the collective memories will always be happy ones. Like sure, they may not remember that time on that one vacation, but collectively they will hopefully always remember how much fun they had on family vacations – if that makes sense. It is just what I’m hoping and my ridiculous optimism I try to coat all over everything. 😀

    • Jessica says:

      Honestly, it’s not so much that I didn’t like the movie, more that the experience of watching it made me all depressed. But that’s more about me and my existential “why are we even HERE and what does life MEAN” stuff. Maybe Pixar can tackle that next :)

  2. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I have read fairly extensively about memory and neuro-psychology. Memory is a very fluid thing, each memory we have is recreated and “re-saved” every time we access it and is always colored and informed by current experience and situations. Always. There is no such thing as a static memory. Also, I may remember something VERY VERY differently than someone else who was also there, even if that person had the same upbringing and life experiences that I did (my twin sister and I remember childhood events differently, it’s just how it goes). That all being said, as you recall positive memories and “re-save” them you will most likely continue to re-save them as positive events. They aren’t gone forever, it seems that very little in our minds is actually gone forever, it is just in a less accessible place. Memories don’t “turn to dust,” they continue to inform and color our experiences and can be instantly brought up unexpectedly, or slowly pulled out of storage.

    That being said, my non-science-y response is that I can see how, as a parent, this movie would be difficult to see and experience.

    xox