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So Emotional: The Sensational High of Inside Out, by Grantland

Stashed in: Emotion, Sadness, Pixar, Meaning of Life, Soul, Amy Poehler, media, Grantland!, wisdom

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Inside Out remains unbusy just long enough to achieve poignant philosophical rumination. 

Some of that achievement is a matter of rareness: a movie situated entirely within the brain of a girl, whose two primary emotions are gendered as female. But a lot of it has to do with the gathering of wisdom. Docter also directed Up, a handsomer, deeply emotional movie with more breathtaking action set pieces. The new movie compounds the feat of the previous one, not by personifying a single emotion but by recognizing the strength of combining them while punching up the sadness setting on the emotional equalizer. (This was the beauty of the preamble to Up, too.)

Generally, sadness tends to be the object of fear, anger, and disgust. Here it’s a base, and Smith is marvelous at bringing it to life. She speaks in the flatland cadences of the American Midwest, a grandmother-librarian who’s never at the center of anything more cultural than a family portrait. Smith, who played Phyllis on the American Office, is a glorious contrast to Poehler’s heroic pep. I found Sadness’s wimpiness and dumpiness annoying initially. But the movie gets behind her self-doubt until it’s empowered. You’re rooting for the movie to take what she represents seriously, and it’s moving when it finally does.

The best of Pixar reckons with states of existence and questions of the soul — what makes us human, whether we’re rats, unwanted robots, or made of plastic. Inside Out might be the most improbable of all of Pixar’s films, since it’s the least external and least explicable. But its unquenchable curiosity also puts it among the most wondrous of its ilk or any American film. This is a studio that has always cherished moods — presented them in phases, not as swings. More than once, I wondered where Inside Out would go. Given the surplus of color and the honest range of feeling, the answer is as much under the rainbow as over it.

pixar = conveying human emotions so intense cartoons make them ok for everyone to experience and acknowledge.  thank you steve jobs and ed catmull.

And in Inside Out's case, thank you Pete Docter (director) and John Lasseter (head of Pixar).

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