For many years, I have been a great admirer of how storytelling can help children and youth cope with different life events and the entangled emotions these can throw up. Pixar is just about to release its newest and frankly, most brilliant example of normalising the ups and downs of everyday life. ‘Inside Out’ is about an eleven-year old girl called Riley and the various feelings within her that control her behaviour: Joy; Sadness; Fear; Anger; and Disgust. Reviews have suggested that it’s a joy to watch.
Above all, I’m hoping it will become a catalyst for positive discussions about mental health.
*Reviews of ‘Inside Out’ in Grazia and Empire.
More than anything, this movie is saying that it’s ok to have a variety of different reactions inside of you, battling against each other in your head. Everyone has that, they just don’t often discuss it. This is paramount, in a society where mental health is such a taboo topic, where parents would rarely admit to anyone that they are struggling with their thoughts, let alone their own children. These films can reassure people when they are grieving. Experiencing a loss can be hugely devastating when you are still developing and already struggling with the various aspects of your identity.
When I lost both of my parents, (I was in my 30s, still am), it wasn’t the adult-based dramas and classic epics that I took solace in, but the child-driven narratives of younger films. ‘Harry Potter’, ‘The Lion King’, ‘Up’, all have a great deal to tell us about death. These stories tell us that people most definitely do die, but wonderful things happen too.
Most importantly, they suggest that sometimes life is a struggle, but it is for adults as well. There is no need to feel alone in your feelings. Just like our conflicting emotions, we are all in it together…