by Brenda W. Clough
There’s a lovely long tradition in the arts of personifying the things in our heads. The Muses are how the Greeks did it, and there is a literary theory that when Odysseus has a conversation with Athena the poet is just trying to show how Odysseus is thinking. And we all remember the 1972 Woody Allen movie Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask), right? In which the lust-crazed man is revealed to be steered by a number of people who sit behind his eyes.
So you all know the gimmick of Inside Out — all the action happens between the ears of a girl named Riley, whose life is turned upside down when the ‘rents uproot the family and move from Minnesota to San Francisco. But what a creative and charming gimmick this is! Riley’s emotions battle it out for control, and until they learn to work together their girl is in real danger.
The real fun for the adult is when the ‘camera’ goes into the minds of others. Everybody has their emotional team, running things, and it’s hysterical. Dogs, cats, the pizza girl — the coolest girl in class’s Sad avatar moans, “It’s so exhausting to be cool!” Endless enjoyments to be had in this witty and smart movie, which is a fine addition to the Pixar stable.
My newest novel Speak to Our Desires is out from Book View Café.