Pixar’s ‘Inside Out’ and How It Reflects the Work Being Done at Greenbrier Academy

In our last blog post, we discussed the efforts of NPR and Girl UP in trying to locate the beating heart of the contemporary teenage girl – in other words, what makes them tick. This of course is no easy task, as there are many emotions floating around in the brain and it takes some time to break them down and understand, but in the end, it’s a worthwhile venture and one we take great pride in at Greenbrier Academy. One such movie sweeping the nation is an exploration of a young girl’s emotions and it’s not a superhero blockbuster or a horror movie getting under your skin, but a Pixar flick that is demonstrating the power of understanding and exploration.

We of course are talking about “Inside Out,” the flick directed by Pete Docter that is highlighting the emotional nuances of an 11-year-old girl named Riley. Like all of the girls who attend Greenbrier Academy, she is going through many changes and is confused because of them. Not only has she relocated from Minnesota to San Francisco, she has to attend a new school, which means she has to make new friends. All of this upheaval is having a profound effect on Riley’s head and most of the movie takes place there. Inside her head, we meet Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust, Sadness, and more.

Pete Docter, one of the directors and writers, says he was influence by watching the real-life trials and tribulations of his daughter growing up. In this MTV article, he says, Looking at my daughter, she’d come home from school and she’d be like in a complete disarray because of something her friend said. And we’re like, she probably didn’t mean it, and she’d be like, ‘You don’t understand.’” The move therefore is an attempt to understand this diversity of young emotions. How can we truly understand a tween girl’s heightened emotions? That was the movie’s goal and it seems like it achieved it; after all, it has been a rousing success.

Ultimately, the movie is an amazing display of peeling back the onion of a young girl’s brain, what makes her tick – the things that she can do to bring out the best in her emotions. At Greenbrier Academy, we help teenage girls come to terms with their emotions and you can say that we get ‘inside out’ of them.