I knew I would cry at some point during the movie, because I don't think I've ever watched a movie with a sad or happy element that I didn't at least tear up. However, I started crying before the movie had even started. Pixar paired Inside Out with the short "Lava", which is about a volcano singing of true love and his journey to find that special someone. The short tugged at my heartstrings and yes, I teared up. But no big tears, yet.
Then Inside Out started. It opens up with a beautiful scene where it's just Joy and Riley; no other emotions have been born yet. That's all broken when Sadness appears.
Disclaimer: There may be spoilers in the remainder of this post. I will do my best to keep things away from spoiler territory, but if you don't want to know anything about the movie, stop reading now.
As the five emotions are introduced, we see how they are actually more like "umbrella" emotions, meaning other types of emotions fall under their main emotion. The five emotions work together to take care of Riley and see her through the day-to-day events.
On one particular day. Riley's parents announce they are moving from Minnesota to San Francisco, CA. It turns out to be quite a culture shock for Riley, and everything begins to go downhill.
Joy, being the ever optimistic one, tries to find the bright side in the rough situations Riley and her parents are in. But Sadness makes one mistake, and ends up getting lost in long-term memory with Joy - the one emotion that can keep Riley happy.
From there, we see how with Joy gone, Riley can't feel happy - it's impossible. The other three emotions, Disgust, Anger and Fear, try to keep Riley functioning, but they struggle to the point that they lose control of Riley's emotions entirely.
It's clear to me that Pixar did their research before writing this movie. The entire movie was like watching myself go through a depressive episode. When I mentioned I cried through the entire movie, I wasn't kidding. I never stopped crying. Not even once. I was even crying off and on for a good hour after the movie, because it impacted me so much.
What a lot of people don't understand about depression is that it's usually something the depressed person cannot control. Like the movie shows, you lose all ability to feel joy or happiness. Sadness takes over until it gets to the point when you lose the ability to feel anything at all.
You lose joy in activities that used to make you happy, like hockey was for Riley. You lose the ability to make rational decisions, and you make huge decisions that can have major, negative impacts on life.
The part of the movie that really got to me was when Joy realized that Sadness had value as one of Riley's emotions. Without Sadness, many of the core memories that Joy created were caused by a moment with Sadness right before. Sadness was crucial to Riley's personality. Sadness had value.
For me, it's hard to wrap my mind around the thought that depression can have value. I focus on my weaknesses, and the negative situations my depression has led me through. But I need to remember that there are also some great joyful memories that depression has led me to.
Depression is a big part of my personality, even if it's not the first thing people notice when they meet me. Even in my more depressive bouts, depression doesn't define me. But it is still a part of me. It has value as a part of who I am, because I have value. Little reminders like those are the things that keep me going day after day,
Here's the main point I'm trying to make. While Inside Out may not have a princess or a love story with a handsome prince, it does have truth. It shows the outside world what depression is really like on the inside, and helps those of us with depression express ourselves better.
Pixar, keep it up. We need more movies like Inside Out to show us hard truths.