Why Inside Out made me cry

Inside Out

Since becoming a mom (and this even relates to while I was pregnant), I seem to always cry during movies. I heard a similar thing a few years ago while listening to This American Life (Contrails of my Tears), which involved crying on airplanes. Both involve attachment and the way the body’s biology reacts to situations.

Last Saturday, my husband and I went out on a date night. We went to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants (Musha), and watched the Disney / Pixar Movie, Inside Out. Of course, on a night when I am “free” of my motherly duties, I decide to watch a movie that makes me think of my daughter the entire time!

A movie about feelings

I knew before watching this movie that it would be a tear-jerker. I got some feedback from some friends before watching it:

Truthfully Inside out is NOT the movie anyone thinks it is. It’s crazy emotional. [my wife] cried a lot during it. But in a good way. – Kyle

Inside Out is a movie that focuses on the emotions a girl named Riley, and her big move from the Midwest to San Francisco during a pivotal time in her life. There is a dual yet fantastically incorporated storyline of Riley’s adjustment to her situation as well as the emotional characters’ plight to keep her on the right path.

It starts with a baby

I started crying barely five minutes into the movie.  Inside Out starts with a baby’s first view of the world. The feeling from this experience becomes a memory, which is associated with an emotion – Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust, or Sadness, which are also the names of the characters in Riley’s (and everyone’s respective) head. The way they show Riley’s childhood memories captured, stored, and categorized is similar to our over-recording and storing of our children’s lives via smartphone. Watching this made me feel super-conscious of how I act around my daughter, and at the same time sad and guilty of not doing more when I could have. My daughter is two, and now that she talks, I can see how much she retains. It’s quite fascinating and scary at the same time.

Those “emo” preteen years

My family made a big move from one coast to another when I was 12. I could totally relate to Riley, where you are going through a tough time, but you know you don’t have a choice in the matter. You want to please your parents but you also don’t know how to accept and deal with the emotions you are feeling, so it’s easier to just close yourself off. I cried because I know how it feels, and because I know my daughter is going to deal with this too (going through puberty, etc)…and will probably try close me off. Growing up is tough!

Motherhood is a life change too

I’ve thought a lot about it recently, and I’ve accepted my “life change” into motherhood. Just like moving from one town to another, or graduating from high school to college, etc. motherhood is a huge change that you just have to accept and embrace to move on. Several weeks ago, a friend of mine (who I haven’t heard from since I had my baby), reached out to me because she lost a file that I created for her years ago. She acknowledged it wasn’t a proper reach out. I responded by telling her I am happy to send her the file, and that I appreciate the acknowledgement. In all honesty, however, I told her that a lot of people who I used to see often just disappeared after I had a baby. I know that my “new” life doesn’t necessarily fit in with their life, and that’s OK. I told her I was a little hurt and sad but I’m over it and have accepted it.

There is a scene in Inside Out where Riley’s old friend talks about her new friend, which drives a dagger through Riley’s heart. Being a mom means I have new responsibilities and new people I have more things in common with. I’m always going to cherish my happy memories, but living in the present and enjoying my new life will create new memories.

Watch this movie

Watch Inside Out. It will make you think and cry…in a good way.

The short before the movie, LAVA, is great too!


Inside Out Tickets