Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Inside Out!

So, I'm late to jump on the Inside Out train. However, Mad Natter and I went to see the movie with Hammie this week, and it honestly deserves a post of its own.  You see, it's a Pixar film, which means it's going to be amazing, that's just because it's Pixar. But, it was more than that.  Even though the Vat O' Fruit Punch Mad Natter got before the movie meant we had to leave to pee three times between the middle and the end, the film was still so astounding as to absolutely merit talking about it. And honestly, the number one reason is because of Mad Natter's first comment after it was over: "You know, Mama, I think I have all those characters from the movie inside ME!"  SOLD.

Inside Out is, as is aptly summed up in a Tumblr meme running around, the story of "what if feelings had feelings?" We follow Riley, an eleven year old girl, through a big move - from Minnesota to California. Being eleven and being pulled from the place she knows as her home?  Emotional upheaval ensues. It's just the nature of people, right?

We get to see inside Riley's head. She has this console. And at any given time, one of her emotional centers - Joy, Fear, Sadness, Disgust, or Anger - has control of the console. They use the console to help Riley drive and process her life. Each individual event that comes into play is handled by one of the five centers, and Riley processes scenarios differently depending on which center is in charge.

Even better, we get to see that Riley's mom?  She has those centers and console too. So does her dad. So do the bus driver, the party clown, and pretty much everyone else - including the dog and the cat. The basic gist of the movie is that every emotion has its place, including sadness, and that a person is not how they handle one situation, but the sum of their life to date. Okay, great. It's wonderful, of course, it's standard Pixar fare - it can't be anything but wonderful.

The movie itself... Mad Natter watched most of it with his hands over his face, like he didn't want anyone to see his reactions. He thinks the movie was, and I quote, "epically awesome!!!" He's not pleased he had to miss parts to use the bathroom, and he wants to get this movie as soon as he can for the house. For me, it was enjoyable. We got to see the parents as people (without Disney's long-standing habit of creating intolerable or just dead parents), fallible, but well-meaning, we got to see Riley as an imperfect and real child... the movie was engaging and clever to me as well as to Mad Natter, and it's one I could deal with watching several times over in a short span, which is worlds apart from many other things he's been taken with recently.

But then.  Oh, that's when Mad Natter's comment came to the fore. In that instant, I realized the invaluable parenting tool Pixar has just provided me with. "Mad Natter, who's at the console now?" This may just be the best thing to ever happen to our household. We can work with Mad Natter about who is driving his console, who he wants to have driving his console, and how to get there. We can have discussions about how sadness? It's not a bad, shameful thing he needs to hide, and his anger need not dominate his other emotions. I have no idea if Pixar meant to do this when they made the movie, but I am not kidding when I say this movie is a game changer. This is huge. We have a common reference point now for talking about emotions and how they influence us. I am so excited I can barely stand it - Joy has my console, and she's not giving it up.