Joy finally gets to know something which we all know - Sadness could also bring people together.
Time and again I've written about pain and darkness. And have been asked what lies inside? Maybe at the core I'm a sad. But it doesn't mean I'm a sad person. I remember what one interviewer said of Woody Allen - "I don’t even think Woody does comedy. I think he does dramas with jokes. They’re all sad at their core." (Chris Rock in a Vulture.com interview.) Happiness has its use. But so does grief. And they describe a person - not necessarily define her.
The complexities of our emotions is often a choice - but more often than not are they mere chemical reactions? Don't we have control over ourselves? Of course we do. Often. But - often not. And the battles inside us rage without us always knowing about them.
And Riley's mind is one such battlefield - as she is born, grows, glows - and faces change. She is all of twelve years old when her parents change town - and her little being faces the catastrophes which even big beings can often not handle wirh equanimity. And inside her head Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust and Fear battle it out. Continuously. And the five of them battle it out to gain precedence and pursue their own natures even as they seek to protect the little girl they love and have a sense of duty towards, in ways their nature knows best.
Calamity strikes when Sadness strikes, and she and Joy lose their way in the mind's labyrinth. And we discover the way our inner world works. The factory of dreams, the imaginative friends we conjure in our inner lives, what inhabitates the deepest recesses of our fears, what happens to our memories when we dont dust them into remembrance enough, how our core memories - things which our hearts know are significant - make up the core of our beings, and how our consciousness is a moving train which often, oh so often, gets derailed.
This is a triumph of a film. It delights in its inventiveness, and finds humour in its darkest moments. It conjures the synapses and the interconnectedness of our emotions - how we swing from one end of the emotional spectrum to another, how we struggle to feel something and end up feeling something else, how our inner philosophies seem like cubist art (oh yes!) and how our inner lives determine our outer ones.
And amidst it's adventure, camaraderie, road journey, lost highways, dream factories, crashing trains and crushing losses, the movie gives its heart to heartbreak and generously allows Sadness to find its mojo, in a way in which only a Joy could do.