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Waterfall, A. (2016). Inside Out, directed by Pete Docter, 2015. Cpl. Fam. Psychoanal., 6(1):128-131.

(2016). Couple and Family Psychoanalysis, 6(1):128-131

Inside Out, directed by Pete Docter, 2015

Review by:
Alice Waterfall

Inside Out is a film about loss and the importance of mourning. The director's idea was to make a film to portray how emotions work and how they shape a person's relationships. The idea seems unlikely for a Pixar blockbuster. However, Inside Out grossed ninety million dollars in its opening weekend, making it the highest grossing original title (not adaptation, or sequel), beating the previous record set by Avatar. The film's success is founded in the creative coupling of the Oscar-nominated director, Docter, and a team of scientists and eminent psychologists, including Paul Ekman. Ekman is an American psychologist and pioneer of the study of emotions and their corresponding facial expressions. His work has come from developing techniques for measuring non-verbal communication. Docter, aged eleven, moved from Minnesota to Denmark, and back again two years later; drawing cartoons became his favoured activity during this difficult time. The film is perhaps his “working through” of complex emotions and relationships that, as a boy, the only way he knew of doing was by making a rather grandiose cartoon.

The film is about Riley, an eleven-year-old girl, who moves from Minnesota to San Francisco. The main characters of the film, however, are the emotions based in Riley's mind—Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear. These are five out of six emotions Ekman discovered that were the most commonly felt to coincide with facial expressions in his studies across Eastern and Western cultures.

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