Going back deep into the recesses of my mind, I do not recollect any story - be it a book or a movie - that one can identify with completely in terms of the circumstances and characters and events. A story, after all, is about a person, and with billions of different personalities inhabiting our world, the chances are pretty much nil for a perfect or even a close match.
Even considering the fact that our human condition has certain generic characteristics - by way of our unique construction - and our mental makeup in terms of the same common emotions and logic - I have not experienced a close match yet. Perhaps, my exposure and outlook have been found wanting.
And then, I land a blu-ray of a Disney-Pixar animation movie titled "Inside Out" - on the recommendations of my younger son.
And here is a story of an 11-year old American girl - Riley Andersen. It is not my story even by the faintest of measures. Yet it plays out mine - in terms of those generic characteristics I share with Riley Andersen, and the whole of humanity. It is the story of self-discovery told via 5 characters who play out our chief emotions all along our lives - Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger - their interactions among themselves - and others who largely play cameos such as Dreams, Fantasies, Rationality, Trains of Thoughts, and some crucial ones which sadly disappear as we age: Wonder & Imagination.
The story, though simple, and simply told - is also a deeply layered one - especially as one begins to connect with it in those deeper levels, ignoring the massive superficial dissimilarities. It is a story about each one of us - traversing an accurately mapped neuropsychological field, without burdening us with the technical rigours of neurology, neuroanatomy, and neurophysiology.
It is a story that reiterates a dictum which we have lost in the long onslaught of reductionist cold Logic and Reason of Science - and to which, fortunately, eminent neurologists like Antonio Damasio, Oliver Sacks, et al - have contributed to reviving. The dictum being "The human condition is the result of the interplay of Logic and Reason and Emotions and Feelings on equal terms, on equal footing. Neither Reason alone, nor Emotions, can explain the mystery of our minds, our personalities, our passions, and our behaviours".
It is about what makes us what we are, and why. It builds on the foundations of our deepest passions and emotions - instilled deeply into our core memories - and about connecting them while navigating the often contradictory demands and challenges of growing up and the labyrinthine terrains of short-term, and long-term memories and the dark depths of the memory dump and our subconscious.
In short, it is a story of self-discovery, to recover what we have lost in our journey of life. And a story I strongly recommend to once again discover yourselves without further ado.
Time to turn yourselves Inside Out - and revive the rest of your lives with vigour. It is a movie as much for parents as it is for kids - a la "The Lego Movie" - but goes much deeper than it.
A topic as complex and deep as this is bound to raise the ugly fears of making the movie esoteric and dark. And this movie beats it outright. It is delightful movie - with hardly any dark and esoteric moments - a movie enlivened throughout by thoroughly quirky animations and situations and nuanced and subtle humour in its screenplay, voiced to perfection.
The blu-ray is fantastic with a brilliant print - and a subtly immersive DTS-Master-HD 7.1 soundtrack - which though not as bombastic as that of the action or war blockbusters - still keeps your speakers active throughout.
Do yourselves and your kids a favour for life. Get this movie and watch it together - not once, but multiple times. And each session would be a new session of self-discovery.
Reviewed Rajendra (Raj) Chittar
Rajendra (Raj) Chittaris based in Bengaluru. He is a retired theoretical Computer Scientist/Software professional. He now luxuriates in his modest but slowly growing collection of Hindustani & Western Classical, Jazz, Classic Rock, Bollywood (pre-1980) music and his books on Mathematics and Physics.
He can be contacted via email firstname.lastname@example.org or on cell +91-8105977500.