There has yet to be a Pixar film that did not summon the inner workings of my tear ducts (except you, “Cars 2”), but this year’s aptly exasperating “Inside Out” certainly brought out feelings I, like Joy and Sadness themselves, accidentally ejected. Along with Joy and Sadness, their friends Fear, Disgust, and Anger round out the flawless cast of feelings inside an eleven-year-old girl named Riley, who has just left her childhood home and moved across the country to San Francisco.
Pete Docter’s subtle ride into the mind of an adolescent is brilliant on many levels — for children and adults alike — but as a director, his explorations into the anxieties of our culture and how they are needled by our necessities to embrace feelings are bold — particularly when citing sadness as indispensable to cognitive function.
In the newest video essay from the Nerdwriter, they take a look at emotional intelligence, and how Paul Ekman’s model for seven basic emotions provided a blueprint for the film’s characters. (Notably leaving out surprise and contempt, though Amy Sedaris and Jean-Luc Godard would be my choice for the roles.) In an age where our fingertips are more often than not the keys to our own emotional stability, the loss of information, or in this case the loss of core memories, is an inherent fear, and playing out these vulnerabilities through the life of a child is poignant and sublime.
You can watch the entire 9-minute video below.