(ahem… spoiler alert!)
Okay, so I saw Inside Out this afternoon and it was ADORBZ! The concept of personifying emotions and bringing the human psyche to life was original and very well done. I thoroughly enjoyed the film, and tip my cap to the dreamers over at Disney.
I do, however, have a few gripes with the overall message the movie transmits. And I’m not sure how suitable the content of the film is for a child’s developing mind.
I made an early mental prediction for how the ending of the story would go, and was sorely mistaken (as usual). Here is my alternate ending followed by a few words about why I think it would teach children and young adults a better moral lesson:
Joy and Sadness try desperately to get back to the control panel before Riley leaves on the bus back to her home town. The other emotions do everything they can to help, but after a valiant effort, they fail. Just as all hope is lost, Riley tells the bus driver to stop and let her off, and she returns home.
The emotions are confused at first. How could Riley have made this wise decision without them? They then figure out that Riley chose to do the right thing on her own, independent of her feelings. Riley used her brain, reason, and will-power to make a wise and correct choice.
Upon realizing this, Sadness wallows in the misery of no longer being needed. Fear shrieks in horror about being faced with unemployment. Disgust is offended and says something like, “as if?” towards Riley, and Anger fumes over being abandoned by the person he and his friends have nurtured for so long. Just as emotional anarchy is about to break out amongst the feelings, Joy shouts, “Hold on! Don’t you all see what this means?” She goes on to explain that their little girl Riley is growing up and learning to act as an independent person. Riley is no longer a helpless child. Rather than projecting her feelings onto the outside universe, Riley is beginning to analyze and interpret the world she lives in so she can make smart decisions as a thoughtful young woman.
Sadness pipes up again about how lonely the emotions will be without spending every waking minute with the controls to Riley’s conscious. But Joy consoles her friends by reminding them that Riley could never have become the amazing person she is today without them. While the emotions will no longer steer Riley and make her decisions for her, they will leave a lasting impression on Riley since she will still have emotions to enjoy and live with like all people.
The emotions accept and embrace this truth, and give touching and comical goodbyes to Riley. Joy’s goodbye, of course, is the tenderest. We then see a more self-aware and mature Riley interacting with her parents and playing ice hockey. At the very end, we are left with the emotions relaxing on Vacation Island which we learn was developed after Riley and her family took a trip to Hawaii.
With my ending, the movie drastically changes. The scenes that take place inside Riley’s parents’ heads, some of the film’s funniest scenes, would have to be cut, as well as the clips after the credits role.
Aside from a few changes, I think this ending would be more appropriate for children. As humans, we need to learn to control our emotions, not accept the fallacy that it is okay for our emotions to control us.
Think about this: some jerk stole my girlfriend’s smartphone on Monday. It was her first day at her now job. She left it in the bathroom at her office, and ran back to get it ten minutes later after realizing her mistake. Sadly, it was gone by the time she returned.
Focusing our attention on the thief, I think it’s safe to say that she is pretty happy about having a free, new mobile device. Joy told the immature and irresponsible crook to nab the phone, so she did. She let her emotions guide her instead of making a moral choice with her brain.
As adults, we have to overcome our feelings and do what is right such as bringing a misplaced phone to security or abstaining from excess carbohydrates (a struggle I know all too well). If we are inside out in life, we fail to recognize objective reality. Gravity exists no matter how we feel about it, and the Earth will be here long after we are gone. What we should do is look to the world outside of our minds, analyze it, understand it to the best of our abilities, and try our best to do what is right for ourselves and the people around us.
Who knows! Maybe Inside Out II: The Rise of Teen Angst will catch my drift. By the way, I highly recommend the movie, but maybe leave the kids at home.