Pretty please can this film win at least one Oscar?! Nominated for two awards, I'm glad I'm certainly not alone in absolutely loving Inside Out. There hasn't been such a brave, emotionally intelligent, creative and science based Kid's film before. Let's face it, it is a film just as much for adults. From a play therapist point of view I want to quickly highlight some of the reasons why it is so important to honour this film at the 2016 Academy Awards. Here are the top 7 reasons why I love it SO MUCH (from my play therapist geeky mind...)
N.B. I am not in any way affiliated with Pixar. This comes from my playful heart!
*Spoiler Alert for non Oscar Panel members! If you haven't watched it yet....1. Where have you been? 2. Bookmark this, watch it now & come back!
In no particular order...
1. It's relatable. Her parents aren't bad parents.
They're very familiar to a lot of us. They are trying to do their best in their own stressful situation. I also like how the story line for the outer world wasn't too dramatic but instead very common and relatable. Trauma and depression don't have to follow one huge terrifying event. It can be slow gradual and seemingly mild/benign series of events (from an outsiders point of view). What really matters is our experiences of what's going on.
2. Sadness has true purpose!
I think I actually fist pumped the sky when this was revealed in the story. Did you see how much effort it was trying to keep sadness down? Sadness helps us to connect and deepen bonds with others. There's a beautiful saying by Brene Brown. "Numb your pain, numb your joy". It's one of life's gorgeous paradoxes. You have to feel both.
3. Anger is not the baddy.
So many people talk stink about anger. Anger is a great motivator. Anger gets shizzle done! Anger can keep us alive! It's such a misunderstood emotion. A whole other blog post for another time...
4. Neuroscience is awesome!
It's scientifically sound yet simple enough to follow. The neuroscience geeks (like me) are happy and the kids "get it".
5. Play matters! It helps us regulate our emotions.
Did you notice how Joy & the goofy self concept helped regulate the girl's intense emotions? When the goofy, playful island disintegrated things really took a turn for the worse in the girl's life. Play helps us ride out those rollercoaster emotions and helps us shortcut back to "Joy". Keep the island accessible!
6. We all need our own Bing Bong
Ohh Bing Bong! Besides having the cutest name ever he was a really great symbol that I & many others connected with ( & cried about!). Although, he will represent different people or things to different people, he can certainly be a symbol of fantasy play. When did he appear? He appeared when she needed him most. Did he make sense with his elephant trunk and bushy tail? He did to her. Fantasy play is a natural and great coping mechanism for dealing with life situations that seem overwhelming. I also think Bing Bong could be a metaphor for a play therapist (An open letter from Bing Bong to his play therapy client coming soon!)
7. Look beyond the surface of a behaviour
It reminds us that when children ( & adults) lash out or do something rash, it's not because they are "bad". We are a complex creation of our experiences up until this point in time. We all have multiple stories in our minds. We should view our children as a whole. As a holistic play therapist I always ask parents & teachers a lot of questions so I can get as much context as possible. This helps me get closer to truly understanding the child, empathizing and getting "under the hood".
No doubt, the film was refreshing in a number of ways. For me, the biggest impact was how this movie made grown ups empathize with a young girl who may have ordinarily been briefly depicted as a "brat" in a regular film. This world can always do with more empathy & understanding. Inside Out for the Oscar Win!
Your Turn! (Oscar panel or not. Your opinion counts)
Join the "play aware" mindset train and answer one (or all 3 of the questions below).
1. Let me know what's your favourite part of Inside Out?
2. Did any part of the film or this post give you an "aha" moment ( I get new ones with each re-watch!)
3. Who was your favourite character?