thoughts on "Inside Out"

(contains mild spoilers)

Terence and I saw "Inside Out" on Thursday night. Wow is that one Trojan Horse of a movie. Hey boss, how we gonna sneak heavy concepts like psychological development, subconscious thought, and emotional programming into our movie? Oh yeah! Pretty Pretty Pixar! Of course!

We cried like babies. I lost it especially hard during the forgotten memories scene (and later I realized this blog is an attempt at keeping some of my own neural matter from turning to dust). I maintain the film has much more to offer adults than kids, glossy and fun as it is - though chances are, being childfree, I'm just underestimating them. Either way, I loved the message that emotions often mix, often conspire to complicate our lives in beautiful ways. It's a poignant meditation on the bittersweet nature of nostalgia, and a reminder that in order to appreciate the light, we must stay in touch with the dark.

Destroyed as I was by it, I can't imagine the number it does on parents. Oh, hai, no pressure but those core memories you're helping create for your children? Those are really, really, really important. Kk, carry on! We came home and wrapped Chaucy into the biggest cuddle ever, kissing and loving on him while I wondered aloud, perhaps absurdly, perhaps not, about my part in his psychological growth. Every time someone compliments his calm, sweet temperament is a secret gold star stuck on my heart and I think to myself, If nothing else, you did that. You gave a dog a happy life. You made a happy dog. 

Is it ridiculous that I managed to make a feature-length cartoon about how I've raised my pet? Absolutely. Am I the only dog mom that came away with the same thoughts? I have to doubt it.

"Inside Out" gives its adult viewers a lot to reflect on, regarding their relationships with their parents. (And I don't think I could have handled watching it very soon after losing either of mine.) In fact it practically invites us to critically review these relationships. We all went through rough transitions, as children. New home, new school, change, loss - moments that challenged our still developing minds so deeply we needed the support of our families to keep us steady. And I expect those adult viewers who are also parents came away doing a lot of introspection about their own emotional availability - to their kids, and to their partners. That is, if the way I renewed my pledge to Chaucer's well being is any indication.

All this thinking. Makes me say something I don't often: Thanks, Hollywood.