Inside Out ★★★★★

I did not walk into this film expecting something this real, and poignant, and powerful.

Among other things, it's a hauntingly apt metaphor for depression. Some of it hit a little too close to home, like watching your support structures -- the things that make you *you* -- crumble away when you need them the most. This is a story that really *gets it*. How depression is an absence of emotion that causes you to lose touch with your most important memories, with the values that define who you are as a person. If you've ever struggled with depression, this movie will hit you right in the feels.

It also conveys a surprising amount of complexity and theory of mind without ever getting too -- if you'll forgive the pun -- cerebral. The idea that we "contain multitudes" -- that our "self" at any given moment is a shifting consensus informed by multiple different emotions and impulses that can sometimes be contradictory -- is one I've encountered before that has proved a very useful model.

I also love in particular that Inside Out confronts the misconception that the goal is to be happy as much as possible, rather putting its emphasis on the richness and bittersweetness one only finds in life by experiencing the full range of emotion. And acknowledges that sadness is a vital part of how we authentically connect to others, and that happy moments can be tinged with sadness, or vice versa. These are important lessons that I wish I'd learned sooner.

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