Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Great movie, highly recommended. We saw it Sunday. We don't see many movies in (or, for that matter, out of) the theater. My 11-year-old has been to the movie theater very few times in his life, due in part to our family's practice of not going very often but also in part to his own resistance. Highly sensitive one that he is, he does not feel safe in front of a movie or television screen when he doesn't know what's coming.
So when the two adult children and I decided to go I was prepared for Evan to say no, but I guess he is growing up a bit because this time he decided to join us. And it turned out to be a fitting movie for him. The main character is a young girl of 11 whose parents have decided to move from Minnesota to California. The reason for the move is not entirely clear, although it seems to be related to the dad's effort to start a new business. In the movie the parents are distracted and worried and counting on their daughter to continue to be her happy-go-lucky self. (This all sounds too familiar.) At its core it is an initiation story. Riley, the little girl, tries for a while to maintain her customary cheerfulness but ultimately can't. The emotion named Joy (personified as a character in her head) has to learn that Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust all have important roles to play and that she (Joy) can't get Riley through life without them. I was a weepy mess for about the last 15 minutes of the movie, trying to contain my sobs in the movie theater so as not to disturb the other patrons.
This movie is earnest and pure. I can't recall any bathroom humor or gratuitous gross-outs. The relationship between Riley and her parents is a loving one. The parents are good people trying to do their best as they navigate the challenges of adulthood. The importance of family is crucial.
And, there are some great laughs along the way, as we get peeks at the personified emotions that are also working to direct the actions of Mom and Dad and a few other characters. (Classic moment: when Mom picks up that something is wrong with Riley and tries to alert Dad with some non-verbal cues, the focus shifts to Dad's emotions, all of which are inside his head sitting on a couch watching television sports. It takes them a few moments to jump to attention and try to figure out what message they are supposed to be receiving. :-))
We are looking forward to watching it again with the dad in this house when it comes out on DVD.