“Crying helps me slow down and obsess about the weight of life’s problems.”
Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant!
Pixar has always created stories that deeply touch the soul of our being. This time, they did it by exposing the soul of our being in one of the most brilliant illustrations of psychology I’ve ever seen.
Yes, there are some imperfections. “Fear” is more “anxiety,” and doesn’t play as big of a role as it could have, given the activity of people’s amygdalae. “Joy” is more “Happiness” and does not so well highlight the nuances of “triumph” and “contentment” even in the midst of terrible circumstances that can also define “joy.” “Anger” is at times more “rage.” And then there is the question, “do emotions have ‘free-will’?” But these are honestly nuanced quibbles that are perhaps better suited coming from a pretentious psycho-analyst. The film is not meant to be a textbook explanation of the complexities of our psyches. It is to illustrate ourselves in a way that is accessible and understandable.
They gave life to Core Memories which have a distinct pride of place from other memories as central to our emotional behavior in the world. It is true that Long-Term memories can be recalled and erased depending upon usage and impact. Events as crystal balls communicate the “permanence” in our psyches. And the list goes on from the Train of Thought, to the Imaginary Friend, to the absolutely brilliant illustration of Abstracting (non-objective fragmentation, to deconstructing, to two-dimensional, to non-figurative). The dinner table scene is, IMHO, required viewing for any youth worker, as the adult has other emotions that could assist in connection. And, The Dump sits in my throat still as a great tragedy of the human mind (though there are some whose “dumps” are not as full as others.)
Most powerful, of course, is the necessity of all emotions to make us fully human, most poignantly illustrated through the partnership of “Joy” and “Sadness.” If the human species could embrace these emotions, let them all live, and find their proper place within our heads, I opine the world would be a better place.
Well done, Pixar. Well done.
Key lines from the script:
Do you ever look at someone and wonder. What is going on inside their head?
That’s Fear. He’s really good at keeping Riley safe.
This is Disgust. She basically keeps Riley from being poisoned, physically and socially.
That’s Anger. He…cares very deeply about things being fair.
Sadness. She. Well, she. I’m not actually sure what she does. And I’ve checked. There’s no place for her to go. So.
I don’t want to get too technical but these are called core memories. Each one came from a super important time in Riley’s life. … And each core memory powers a different aspect of Riley’s personality. Like. Hockey Island. Goofball Island. Friendship Island is pretty good too. … I love Honesty Island. And that’s the truth. And of course, Family Island is amazing. The point is. The islands are personality are what make Riley, Riley.
Nothing comes back from the Dump. … When Riley doesn’t care about a memory, it fades. … Except for this bad boy. This one will never fade. The song from the gum commercial? You know. Sometimes we send that one up to Headquarters for no reason. It just plays in Riley’s head over and over again like a million times.
What is going on? We’re abstracting. There are 4 stages. This is the first. Nonobjective fragmentation. … We’re in the second stage. Were deconstructing. Oh no. We’re 2 dimensional. That’s stage 3. Oh no, we’re not figurative. This is the last stage.
These facts and opinions look so similar.
The subconscious. That’s where they take all the troublemakers. I don’t like it here. It’s where they keep Riley’s darkest fears.
Guys. We can’t make Riley feel anything.
Sadness, it’s up to you. Me? Sadness? Sadness? Sadness? I can’t, Joy. Yes you can. Riley, needs you.