comedy

Why you need to watch Inside Out

Let me put it out there straight away – I am an Amy Poehler fan.

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So there’s already a certain amount of bias from me before I even went to see the new Disney/Pixar animated flick Inside Out.

The emotions of 11-year-old Riley in Inside Out

The emotions of 11-year-old Riley in Inside Out

As expected, this sweet flick about the five emotions (Joy, Fear, Disgust, Sadness and Anger) inside an 11-year-old girl’s head, made me sob, guffaw, sob and reminisce about my own childhood. And sob. Did I mention that? This is a real doozy with switching on the waterworks. Which is also expected, considering it’s co-directed by Pete Doctor, who wrote and co-directed that other beautiful tearjerker Up.

But it’s also not just an intelligent, thought-provoking children’s movie. Inside Out is much more than that.

It’s a movie every child and adult should watch as an important lesson in mental health.

In Inside Out, Poehler voices the blue-haired, pixie-looking emotion Joy. No surprises there, considering the ever-optimistic attitude of many of Poehler’s characters, including Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation.

The always-positive Leslie Knope

The always-positive Leslie Knope

 

But Inside Out teaches us it’s not healthy to just have one emotion dominating all the time, as Poehler pointed out in this interview with The Guardian:

Joy and Sadness (voiced by Phyllis Smith)

Joy and Sadness (voiced by Phyllis Smith)

“I feel no one can be Joy all the time (and) I think the film reminds us that we have all the feelings and emotions running through our head,” she said.

“Joy has a really great arc in the film. She goes from thinking, she’s very single minded and thinking that happiness is the number one pursuit, to realising she needs to work with Sadness to get anywhere and she herself gets sad for the first time.”

Happiness seems to be the sole goal of our modern society, but to be constantly happy is not realistic.  It makes it hard when social media demands we only ever present a shiny, positive image to others. But I’m always curious about what’s on the left and right of that frame – where the truth and realism lie.  Our experiences don’t ever have to be defined as one singular feeling. When we’re on a rollercoaster, we can be scared and excited. Sometimes we can be so mad or exasperated at someone, but then they make you laugh. And sometimes we’re sad – and we’re allowed to be.

tumblr_mux65qd1dE1r5c2fso1_250Sure this is all a bit deep for a children’s movie, but it’s still a message that seeps through in a fun, incredibly imaginative way in Inside Out. And it’s an important one, particularly for children today, who I believe are facing so many more challenges than I did at their age.

Children today face many challenges

Children today face many challenges

I didn’t have to worry about Facebook, or Instagram. I could go home and switch off. But in a world that is always buzzing, always online, always demanding interaction, I think education on mental health is necessary to ensure people lead balanced lives.

So Inside Out may not be the greatest animated movie I’ve ever seen, but I think it’s one of the most important.

Just remember to take tissues.

Inside Out gets two thumbs up

Inside Out gets two thumbs up

 

 

This Is Where I Leave You (narrated with Tina Fey GIFs)

 

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When I first heard of This I Where I Leave You, it ticked all the boxes.

1. It stars Tina Fey and Adam Driver, amongst others, who are two people that can do no wrong in my mind (I’m obviously not biased at all). **

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2. It is a dysfunctional family drama, which has equalled awesomeness in the past (Little Miss Sunshine is a personal fave).

3. I came across yet another excellent podcast by Elvis Mitchell for KCRW’s The Treatment, where he chatted to the director Shawn Levy and it amped me up more.

Getting excited

Getting excited

There was also the fact that it was selected to screen at Toronto, which doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but hey, Levy’s other films like Date Night weren’t, so it potentially said something about what kind of movie I was going to see.

Then I saw the trailer, which was pretty sigh-worthy. It looked a lot like The Family Stone and seemed determined not to really explain what the movie was about.

So I went into this flick, thinking it could go either way.

Unfortunately, however, it went with the former and was quite underwhelming.

Ok this is an exaggeration.. I was a little disappointed

Ok this is an exaggeration.. I was a little disappointed

It had its moments, but actually, what This Is Where I Leave You felt like, was more of a series of nice moments strung together.

It focuses on Jason Bateman’s Judd Altman, whose life has taken a big dump on any plans he might have had. After walking in on his boss sleeping with his wife, he finds out his father has died, and heads back to his family home, where he, his sister (Fey), mother (Jane Fonda) and two brothers (Driver and House of Cards’ Corey Stoll) must ‘sit shiva’ for a week.

Apparently it was his father’s dying wish for them to take part in the Jewish week-long mourning ritual, that in this case, traps five family members who rarely see each other in the same house for seven days, along with and their significant others and children.

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Of course, past issues and current issues, old flames, and all the drama that you expect bubbles to the surface, but more with a melancholy sigh, than with gusto. The only character I really felt anything for was Tina Fey’s Wendy, who has a heartbreaking storyline about an old boyfriend.

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This Is Where I Leave You is sweet and sentimental, but not much more.

And with a cast of this calibre, I want to be leaving the cinema punching the air and planning my next trip to see it. Not walking out with a shrug.

** Just need a moment to rave about Adam Driver, who you probably recognise from the TV series GIRLS. The guy is a superb actor. He’s just so raw and unpredictable. If you haven’t seen him in Aussie film Tracks, stop reading this now and go watch it. BRILLIANT film.

Adam Driver in Tracks - a must-see Aussie film also starring Mia Wasikowska (Copyright The Weinstein Company 2014)

Adam Driver in Tracks – a must-see Aussie film (Copyright The Weinstein Company 2014)

And on a final note…. Just cause I can

Just cause I can