|Abstract Art "From Sadness to Joy", by 8 years old D. M. F.|
By Anna M.*
My 8 years old son was in a very bad mood and not willing to talk about it. I believe in the power of the motion pictures to change the perspective on things, so I invited him to choose a movie to go with all of the family. I was exhausted and uninspired. After teaching Culinary Arts for 51 kids(!) I had little energy to make yet another supermom effort to try to understand the source of his anger.
Four hours later, after watching Inside Out (Pixar Disney 2015) all family went through a change of emotional mood. Thanks for the well represented emotion-emoji-like characters of the movie, we found ourselves laughing, and celebrating the fact that little red monster Anger had finally departed and cute happy Joy was back. All family agreed that the movie was excellent, and were grateful that it could help us to communicate our feelings to each other in a creative fashion.
From that summer afternoon up to now, all family is making good use of the characters well defined by the movie: I can explain why I get so upset when I have to drive through slow traffic while being late. My husband is avoiding Anger when confronted with yelling kids at 9:30 PM. The boys can share when Disgust is taking her part in their minds, and when happy moments are retrieved so to avoid sinking in yet another bout of anger.
We also could talk openly about how moms are so connected to their children's emotions, while dads might seem to be a bit distant sometimes, as their brain is switched to other types of priorities. My husband and I figured that lots of people like us could mirror themselves on the on the dining table scene, where wife was signaling husband how to connect with his daughter.
But Sadness, the blue and somehow out of shape fuzzy monster was left out of our debate. And I guess there's a reason for that. We all really don't want to let her take over our emotions.
That's exactly the feeling that struck my mind when I watched the movie's description of growing up. I secretly kept it hiding it in my mind. While watching the brilliant scenes of memories being deleted, new core memories being stored, islands of happiness and fun dissipating and falling into the void, I remembered about the end of my childhood. The movie was now not about my sons, but about me. I recalled all the growing pains and the departing child-like images. I remembered about the big red teddy bear, my Italian doll and all the imaginary houses I had inside the home where I grew up. I realized how hard it was when I had to leave my little and cozy paradise to move to another city, leaving my friends behind.
That's when I cried. My son looked at me, held my hands, and later we talked about the reasons for my sadness. I told them about growing up and how all those scenes in the movie reminded me about my transition form child to preteen. I am certain that he will always recall our watching-a-movie-together experience for a long time. Maybe it's already stored in his memory.
So, if you, like me, believe in the magic powers of a good movie, _ and the super powers of dialogue _ this movie is not to be missed. Invite your friends and family and enjoy. Don't forget that it's ok to laugh and even cry. And that's also ok to allow some Sadness get into your life as a catalyst of transformation.
* Anna M, journalist and chef, is POVI's content manager.
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