InsideOut: The College Edition

The Midas that is Pixar has done it yet again. It seems today that any movie that Pixar plays a role in creating is destined for movie majesty, and their latest is no exception. Their movies tend to appeal to all audiences, and while InsideOut is no exception, the plot is undeniably different. So, sit back, maybe grab some popcorn and enjoy as Valley breaks down the multitude of reasons why InsideOut is a standout.

Warning: Spoilers Below!

InsideOut begins with Riley, its 11-year-old protagonist, who is uprooted from her Minnesota home and forced to move to San Francisco for her father’s new job. She is forced to leave behind her home, friends, and start all over. Her main emotion, Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler, of course), is focused on keeping her happy and does her best to keep Sadness (voiced by Phyllis Smith, the Phyllis from The Office) from playing a hand in her emotions as she deals with this turbulent time in her life.

Fear, Disgust, and Anger (Bill Hader, Mindy Kaling, and Lewis Black) are secondary emotions, but still vital in Riley’s life. The movie is very loud and colorful and beautifully animated, so it’s easy to see how it can appeal to children, and it is done very well aesthetically.

As the movie progresses, we see Riley dealing with everyday situations that we, even as college students, can relate to. Joy is the central emotion, responsible for making us as happy as we can be in all situations in our lives. At one point in the movie, a naive, well-wishing Joy makes a discovery that some, unfortunately, never will.

Joy is watching a sad memory, but as the memory progresses, it becomes happy. This is when she realizes that sadness actually does serve a vital role. Sadness, though not always bright and bubbly, is there to alert people when someone needs help. Though the movie is designated for children, it is easy to decipher just how exactly this colorful film can paint some color in college students lives, as well.

InsideOut to Inside Our Lives

This children’s movie is relevant to students because we can all universally relate to how hard it is to move to college. For freshman doing it for the first time as well as seniors who have several times, the feeling is universal and we all experience occasional homesickness. It’s a hard transition that we, as college students, make, to leave everything we know and start over, and it’s a scary one, too.

It’s okay to feel sadness, especially as college students, and no matter how long you’ve been away for, homesickness is still very real. In fact, this sadness is normal and to be expected.

Mary Ann Knapp, senior staff therapist in the Counseling and Psychological Services at Penn State says that, as the larger cluster of students who experience homesickness are freshmen and transfer students, but they are not the only ones affected.

“The most helpful thing for a student to be able to do is to analyze what it is they miss about home, and encourages them to do their best to make Penn State a second home of sorts,” says Knapp.”Being aware of sadness and of what you’re missing is important, but so is trying to connect to the new as well. Sometimes it’s okay to think about what you miss from home, but also think about how to make this a second home.”

Whether you’re watching the movie and relating to its plot or simply just having trouble moving in, take it from the producers at Pixar — you are not alone. InsideOut does a fantastic job with providing an entertaining, comedic film with several underlying emotional messages, and the message can be interpreted in numerous ways, whether you’re 12 or 21.


Feeling Homesick and Need a Hand? Contact CAPS Here:

Phone:  814-863-0395
Fax: 814-863-9610


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