I saw it yesterday and am full of FEELINGS and I feel the need to talk about it somewhere. (Given that it is about feelings, perhaps this should have been expected.)
No spoilers ahead, (except for talking about the plot in broad terms - FYI if you want to avoid even that.) Though if people want to, happy to chat spoilers in the comments?
It’s in the running for my favorite Pixar movie they’ve ever done. Everyone is so great, but especially Amy Poehler and Phyllis Smith. (Phyllis is SO GREAT you guys). Really funny, though I full on sobbed for the last 20 minutes. That I was a Midwestern girl who also moved when I was 11, and had an incredibly hard time of it didn’t help. (Moving when you’re 11 is the fucking worst. You’re trying to come to grips with your identity already shifting as you’re coming out of childhood, throwing in negotiating entirely new surroundings and cutting ties with everything you’d known up until then? Uuugh.)
It’s also incredibly deep and nuanced for a kids movie. Like, kids will find it a fun adventure, and adults will find it bittersweet and painful. Love, love this Linda Holmes review.
Within this literally cerebral tale, there are clowns, vacuum hoses, glassy globes, a unicorn, a being that cries candy out of his eyes, and a literal Train Of Thought. But there’s no intruder. Nothing in Riley’s mind is ultimately tagged as not belonging or not wanted, because nothing in her mind can be separated from who she is. She is made up of the same things that cause her sadness, fright and disgust — those little emotions are her and she is them. There’s nothing to defeat; if anything, what Riley is fighting against is the impulse to exile the feelings that embarrass her.
She’s confronted with learning — through the interplay of emotions — how to balance all of the pieces of herself the way she will need to do as she becomes an adult and steps out of the part of her childhood where happiness could reliably be her dominant emotion and other feelings could be treated as temporary, meaningless flashes to be quickly soothed by the right sunny thought or driven off by the right distraction. This is the actual poignancy of adolescence: the arrival of more emotional nuance and more sophisticated understanding is the arrival of more sophisticated pain as well as more meaningful joy. Things blend, things bend, the world gets weirder.
And, goes without saying, I love that the main character is a normal, 11 year old girl. And that a movie with largely female protagonists killed at the box office this weekend.