The Inside Story
Circulating Now on June 25, 2015
By Michael Sappol
Inside Out, Pixar's latest hit animated feature, is mainly set on the inside of a young girl's brain. Riley, an eleven-year-old, is operated by a committee of characters, each representing an emotion, who collectively try to deal with her troubles at school and home. It seems like a very contemporary way to depict consciousness, and critical reaction from psychologists and neuroscientists has been largely favorable.
But, strangely, the film echoes an older and quite obscure piece of animated cartooning: a 1944 movie made during wartime for the U.S. Coast Guard, The Inside Story. That film, now preserved in the historical audiovisual collection of the National Library of Medicine, deals with the typical emotional problems suffered by men entering the military service and argues that psychotherapeutic approaches may help.