Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Tropes Common in Children’s Movies: Childhood Interactions Played Out by Animals--or, in Inside Out--by Animated Figures from Our Subconscious

The three-year-old who accompanied me to see Inside Out declared it to be a great movie! The character of Joy delighted her. When Sadness dominated the screen, she was somber, attentive when Anger vented, and a bit puzzled when Fear shared the dire consequences he imagined. She recognized the emotions she experiences and struggles to name, and this is the power of Inside Out.

The movie’s power is also a nice twist on a trope common to children’s movies. Instead of Winnie the Pooh’s Tigger as the accident-prone, hyperactive member of the group, Inside Out delivers Bing Bong, Riley’s imaginary friend. In place of Eeyore, the introverted, tail-dragging donkey, Inside Out provides Sadness to predict doom and gloom. Roo and Piglet are countered by Fear, and Rabbit’s counterpart is Disgust. These animated figures not only illustrate the emotions that plague and please us, they also serve as stand-ins for the people children--and adults--encounter on the playground.

Joy, of course, is the star. She is the iconic cockeyed optimist. She tries to spin troubling events into good moments that will become, at the end of every day, long-term happy memories. She bounces and coaxes, empathizes and redirects. She proves the power of hope, determination, and friendship.

More important, perhaps, Joy proves that a full life without conflict, anger, regret, or sorrow is simply impossible. Joy learns, and so do we.

After Winter's chill shade, Spring arrives full of hope and warmth.
Reading Challenge:

“Read” Inside Out, Pixar’s 2015 film.

Writing Challenge:

Watch the YouTube film, “107 Pixar’s Inside Out Facts YOU Should Know." Choose one of the 107 facts for a journal response about the movie. 

Connye Griffin is My Writing and Editing Coach.
She also writes for Our Eyes Upon Missouri.