“Life isn’t just addition and subtraction. There’s also accumulation,
the multiplication, of loss, of failure.”
– Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending
It’s been another uneventful running week, which is mainly because I’ve been on a crash diet to shift a few pounds before the serious training starts. I’ve been doing the Clean 9 which, if you haven’t heard of it, is like a hardcore Slim-Fast, where you also drink shower gel (alright, aloe vera gel). You also have to cut out all caffeine, alcohol and refined sugar, the former being particularly difficult for a coffee-addict like me.
I don’t really need to lose that much weight but, as you may have noticed, I am very much an all-or-nothing person, so decided that a short-sharp shock would be the way to go. Apart being extremely hangry for the first three days, it’s made me feel pretty good, and has definitely worked.
As it’s been quiet, I’ve decided to do my first and last movie review. We took the kids to see the new Disney/Pixar film Inside Out this weekend, which is set in the mind of Riley, an 11 year-old girl, the main characters being her five emotions – Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust and Fear. The plot revolves around her family’s move to San Francisco, and how her emotions react to the upheaval.
I’m a massive Toy Story fan (genuinely and unashamedly think it is one of the best films ever made), but I think Inside Out may be as funny, exciting and moving, if not more. It has a brilliant cast (including Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling and Bill Hader), is meticulously researched, gorgeously animated, intelligently written and, like Toy Story, has some great set-pieces and one-liners for adults as well as children.
Most impressively though, it expresses some of the most complex abstract concepts, such as the birth and development of human consciousness, personality and the self, explains how important emotions like sadness and fear are and why a person can’t be happy all of the time in an ingenious, simple and truly beautiful way. If nothing else, it is hands-down the most thought provoking kids’ movie I have ever seen.
Although it seems like all of the reviewers agree that it is a fantastic film, it obviously struck a chord with me, and got me imagining what the inside of my mind would look like, compared to Riley and her parents’. Each of the three had one controlling emotion, Joy for Riley, Anger for her dad, and Sadness for her mum, although in the adults’ brains all of the emotions had a lot more control over the body’s reactions. For me, I’m pretty sure that in my mind there is a constant power-struggle among Joy, Sadness and Fear, which regularly turns into a punch-up (sometimes allowing Anger to sneak in and take over).
Actually, not long after we first met, Camilla had an iPod case that had cartoon monkeys banging cymbals, dancing and playing drums and other instruments. I used to tell Camilla that it was a depiction of the inside of her brain (jokingly, of course), so I am going to take some, if not all of the credit for the concept of the film.
One of the most interesting questions that I’ve been mulling over is whether everyone would start out with Joy as the dominant emotion, particularly as the things that make my two year-old Caspar happy include looking at dogs, smelling beer (don’t ask), anything to do with poo and Peppa Pig (don’t get me started on that knobhead Daddy Pig). From speaking to my parents, however a mix of Fear and Sadness may have been in control of my young mind, and that is certainly true of the teenage me. Mind you, this is probably also the case for most 15 year olds.
As you only see Riley’s development, the film does not express whether sadness or anger had always been in charge of mum or dad’s mind, or whether it changed over time. What is definitely clear from the film though, illustrated by the increased size of mum and dad’s “control consoles” as opposed to Riley’s rudimentary operating system, is that with maturity comes greater control and balance of all of the emotions. Unfortunately, some of us just need a little bit of help to keep the status quo…