Colour­ful jour­ney through the mind

Kalgoorlie Miner - - ENTERTAINMENT - Mark Naglazas

Memo to all psy­chol­ogy pro­fes­sors — or­der your stu­dents to skip class and see Pixar’s latest 3-D as­ton­ish­ment In­side Out, which packs more wis­dom on the work­ing of the mind and emo­tional well­be­ing into 94 min­utes than a se­mes­ter’s worth of lec­tures on Freud.

In­deed, In­side Out’s de­pic­tion of the in­ner life of an un­happy young­ster is so com­plete and per­sua­sive, you could imag­ine the founder of psy­cho­anal­y­sis him­self walk­ing out of the movie with fresh in­sights into key sub­jects, such as the na­ture of dreams (here de­picted as a Para­mount-like stu­dio named Dream Pro­duc­tions) and the sub­con­scious (a prison for “trou­ble­mak­ers”, such as a gi­ant scary clown named Jan­gles).

While you don’t need a psy­chol­ogy de­gree to ap­pre­ci­ate In­side Out, it is Pixar’s most adult film yet, a stun­ningly so­phis­ti­cated, end­lessly in­ven­tive ex­am­i­na­tion of men­tal health in an era of bul­ly­ing op­ti­mism and en­forced high spir­its.

That is not to say that In­side Out di­rec­tor Pete Doc­ter has for­got­ten his core au­di­ence, the chil­dren. As with Pixar’s best work, In­side Out works on mul­ti­ple lev­els, stim­u­lat­ing adults while fir­ing the imag­i­na­tion of kids and com­mu­ni­cat­ing some­thing of sig­nif­i­cance.

On the sur­face (lit­er­ally), In­side Out tells the sim­ple and fa­mil­iar story of a preter­nat­u­rally happy 11-year-old girl from Min­nesota named Ri­ley (voiced by Kaitly Dias) who adores her par­ents (Diane Lane and Kyle Ma­cLach­lan) and lives for smack­ing around an ice-hockey puck.

How­ever, the real ac­tion takes place deep in­side Ri­ley, where dom­i­nant emo­tion Joy (bright yel­low and voiced by Amy Poehler) com­mands a USS En­ter­prise-like deck and con­trol panel, is­su­ing or­ders and keep­ing in check Ri­ley’s other colour-coded emo­tions: vol­cano red Anger (Lewis Black), stom­ach-turn­ing green Dis­gust (Mindy Kal­ing), the in­sipid laven­der-shaded Fear (Bill Hader) and the per­ma­nently blue Sad­ness (Phyl­lis Smith).

All is go­ing swim­mingly un­til Amy’s tech en­tre­pre­neur dad moves the fam­ily to San Fran­cisco, up­end­ing Amy’s world and cre­at­ing chaos in her “head­quar­ters” (one of many clever, cute equiv­a­lences), with Joy work­ing overtime to keep ev­ery­thing in bal­ance as the young­ster be­gins a new life.

The one emo­tion Joy strug­gles to con­trol is Sad­ness, who keeps touch­ing the mem­ory balls the emo­tions have a hand in cre­at­ing and turn­ing them blue, lit­er­ally and fig­u­ra­tively. “I’m not sure what she ac­tu­ally does, ” com­plains the bright yel­low Joy.

The rest of the film is cen­tred on Joy learn­ing the pur­pose of Sad­ness as the pair find them­selves tossed out of Ri­ley’s head­quar­ters and lost deep in the re­cesses of her mind, which is crum­bling all around as Ri­ley’s world gets bleaker and she con­tem­plates run­ning away from home.

Doc­ter’s con­jur­ing of Ri­ley’s con­scious­ness is as evoca­tive as it is hi­lar­i­ous, with Joy and Sad­ness meet­ing goofy char­ac­ters, en­coun­ter­ing her pho­bias (a gi­ant broc­coli), get­ting trapped in Ab­stract Thought (where they end up like Pi­casso paint­ings) and en­ter­ing Dream Pro­duc­tions, which gives her ex­pe­ri­ences a Hol­ly­wood makeover.

How­ever, at its core is Joy’s grad­ual un­der­stand­ing that Sad­ness is not a glitch in the sys­tem but in­te­gral, the key com­po­nent to both her sur­vival and her hap­pi­ness.

Again Pixar shows a wis­dom be­yond ev­ery other chil­dren’s movie in the mar­ket with a cli­max not only dra­mat­i­cally sat­is­fy­ing and deeply mov­ing but with some­thing truly im­por­tant to say to a cul­ture ob­sessed with med­i­cal­is­ing and erad­i­cat­ing the blues.

Iron­i­cally, no film you will see this year will leave you with a wider smile.

In­side Out is now screen­ing.

Pic­ture: Pixar

Anger, Fear, Joy, Sad­ness and Dis­gust look out upon Ri­ley’s Is­lands of Per­son­al­ity.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.