Inside Out [Film Review]

I’ve been wanting to see this film for absolutely ages. I’d heard so many people talk about it and I loved the sound of its plot. However, I only managed to see it a week ago whilst I was on a flight back from holiday. Hey, everyone must have thought I was twelve, but if any animated film is for adults, it’s this one.Image result for inside out

To give a rough overview, Inside Out follows the life of Riley, an 11-year-old girl who has a very happy life until her parents move her across the country to a new town. There is an operating system inside her mind where ‘people’ represent different emotions. There’s Joy and Sadness and Disgust and Anger and Fear. They all switch to take over Riley’s emotions, and therefore actions, at different moments.

I really do admire the writing of Inside Out. It gives a depth to the film that isn’t present in most animated films, or in most films in fact. It had me thinking a lot about psychology and the brain and how emotions control us. Sometimes we don’t understand why we act the way we do and this film is an attempt to explain this; that how we deal with our emotions affects the way we face the world. Keeping them under control keeps your real personality in tact.

The emotions inside the parent’s heads was also really interesting. In the mother’s, sadness was in control. In the father’s, anger was in control. The contrast between this and the confidence of Joy in Riley shows that as we get older, we don’t just change physically or think differently, but we feel differently. And a lot of the time we feel more negatively. The journey to get Joy back into Riley’s body, as a result, reflects what we should be doing as adults too. Riley moving house is bringing adulthood sooner than expected, and that is why her emotions are becoming negative. She has to find her way back to those childlike feelings. As adults, we must do the same; we must find that happiness that we lost when we stopped being a child. The film uses Riley’s story as a metaphor for our journey for personal growth as adults.

Image result for inside out combined ball
The smile of Sadness brings so much joy

Another message of the film that really stood out for me was the way Joy and Sadness combined themselves at the end to send off a ball of memory that was both happy and sad. To embrace the cliche, the moral of the story is that you can’t have one or the other. The characters spend majority of the film trying to get Joy back into the control centre, however ironically, the joy of Joy returning would not have been so great if it weren’t for Sadness controlling Riley in between. Sadness was actually my favourite because of this; I felt a lot for her character, but she couldn’t help being sad. We, as humans, cannot help feeling sad either. Instead, we should accept it so that one day the happiness will take it in and use it to fuel better memories. Joy and Sadness remain as friends and this is how we should tackle difficult times in our own life – for every sad memory, we have many great ones.

There are so many ways you can unpick and analyse Inside Out, so I won’t go into any more of a ramble than I already have. But I think this film is really interesting to watch, especially if you like thinking about how the mind works and how emotions affect us. If you have any thoughts about the film, please leave them in the comments. I’d love to hear what you thought about this film too!

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch [‘Film’ Review]

I’m a huge fan of Black Mirror, so waking up today to see an interactive “event” (or film, you could say) on Netflix gave me so much hype! And so, naturally, I spent my afternoon watching it. And can I just say, it’s beyond any words I could say.

The rest of this post will have spoilers, so if you’ve reached this point and you haven’t seen it yet, go watch it now! If you have, feel free to join me in a world of overthinking.

What I loved so much about Bandersnatch was that it had similar vibes to past Black Mirror episodes, and yet it was taken to a whole new level. The idea of an interactive film is already exciting in itself, but of course, the writer Charlie Brooker could not fail to make this more than just a simple choice game. It becomes more of a choice game that reaches out to life as a whole; that makes the watcher question their own choices in their own life, not just in the episode.

I found that once I’d reached one of the endings, Netflix allowed me to go back and make different choices to see different endings. I liked that this was possible without watching the entire thing again. It also makes for a wider analysis of the film; if alternate realities exist, there is no one ending. We can try and reach an outcome in our life but it’s inevitably futile, since we reach all different possible conclusions in the amalgamation of our realities. There was one ending of Bandersnatch where a woman is watching Stefan on a computer. That “inception” of controlling the controller really sums up the purpose of the film: we are stuck in a maze where there is no way of knowing what is controllable or what constitutes an “ending”. Is there even a concept called an “ending”? It seems that the film’s lack of a “real” ending answers this; there is no solution. And in that, we are left questioning in attempt to gain control for the rest of time. We are simply powerless.

It is also interesting how Stefan’s vast and abstract thinking is outwardly deemed as madness by his Father, as if madness is this solution we jump to when we don’t understand. There is a certain kind of madness to Stefan’s contemplation of being controlled, however there is equally nothing to prove we have full control of our lives. Without a level of madness, nothing can be created (similar to the video game itself). Black Mirror is something that accepts and appreciates madness in a way no other TV show really does. None of us can comprehend the world, therefore aren’t we all mad?

In this respect, the writing is nothing short of phenomenal. The acting and cinematography allow the writing to shine in its best light and just about everything works for me. Black Mirror never fails to create an atmosphere unlike any other and I always find myself completely immersed in the world that it brings to TV. After watching Bandersnatch, I’m not sure I’ll be able to think straight for at least 24 hours, but only in the best way possible.

shut out. [poem]

I wonder what those eyes are saying

I wonder what those eyes are saying

to be praying

hands SHUT like the door

eyes fallen to the floor

 

I wonder what those eyes are

saying

I wonder what those eyes are saying

I saw them praying

but now I’m

shut out

eyes that hide yet

SHOUT

 

I stare at the door handle

shut staring at the

shouting door handle

Do we Really Need Everything That’s in our Lives?

As I was washing my hair this morning, it suddenly struck me how weird it is that humans use shampoo. It makes logical sense, since our hair gets greasy and we want to look good, however I have no idea how this concept came about.

When you think of packing a suitcase for holiday, you make sure to pack all the essentials – underwear, socks, toothbrush, and of course, shampoo – but none of these things are actually essential. When you really think about it, these things have been turned into necessities by humans as a form of making us look better or more respectful.

If we stripped back our lives, is there anything that is essential, except for food and water?

I think it’s interesting to stop and think about this. We put so much energy and reliance into things that we simply do not need.

Take a break.

Think of everything you have in your life as an optional luxury that you are lucky to have.

What are you scared to share with people?

Despite having a really lazy day, I came across the two most beautiful videos today which in itself made today worth it. They made me feel so overwhelmed by the power to bring humankind together over different answers to the same question, and so I wanted to extend this connection by sharing it with all of you.

The first video asks the question: What are you scared to share with people? 

I found this one really interesting because I could see the reluctance on people’s faces as they were being asked this. They didn’t know how to respond because there’s still that conflict – they wouldn’t tell this to people normally but as soon as it’s on camera they suddenly start comprehending it. And I think it’s good to comprehend it; to ask yourself: why am I hiding this apart from the fact that I’m scared? Because most of the time we are scared for irrational reasons and others accept our fears even more than we do ourselves.

What particularly struck me about this video, despite the openness, was that I actually related to a lot of the things people were saying. It’s crazy how most of us think we are alone in our thoughts and our struggles, but we’re not. The only reason we think we are is because people don’t share it.

You may watch the video and think “wow I would never have guessed this person was struggling with this” and that sums up the whole point of it – none of us ever know just from looking at someone’s exterior. Our struggles are obvious to us because they manifest in our minds and in our own private lives, but that doesn’t mean they’re visible to everyone.

There was something about the video that made me see the more genuine side to humanity – the side that isn’t caught up in fake news or media campaigns or gossip. It made me see the pain behind people’s eyes that are normally smiling and laughing. And most of all, it made me realise that I’m not the only one who struggles opening up to people about my feelings, especially in terms of mental health. But that’s okay. I may not tell everyone my life story, but just because some people do, that doesn’t mean I should. Even a few close people who can share my outlook is enough for my vulnerable side to not just be locked inside my head. It lets those parts of myself free, even for a short while. And I think it’s really important to have at least one person in your life who lets you be your free self.

The second video is what brings this free self into place. The question is: The moment you felt most alive?

Your mind may now be running with memories trying to find one to pick. And if it is, I reckon that all of the memories you’re thinking of are situations where you felt free and true to yourself. Fears hold us back from opening up, but we have to dissipate those fears to truly enjoy being alive. I struggle so much with fear, but even just a moment of complete disconnect from this feeling is enough to make it worthwhile, whether that is singing at the top of my lungs at a concert, or having a deep conversation in the early hours of the morning.

When we are the most alive we aren’t holding back.

Allow yourself to do what you want to do.

How far does art influence our lives?

“Other visible worlds reach into this world without, however, really forming a part of it.”

This is a quote taken from one of the texts I read this semester for my film theory module. And it stuck with me. I typed it into notes on my phone and it was stored away with all my other ideas for blog posts. And now, suddenly, it’s reemerged.

I wanted to talk about this quote because I feel like it sums up the effect art has on us as people. From literature, to films, to theatre – these things all bring other worlds into the one that already exists. They create new people and new rules and new societies beyond what we have ever really seen. And yet it never actually forms a part of our world.

When we consume art, it naturally becomes part of our mind, since we are thinking about it.  However, this is only temporary. We don’t then spend the rest of our lifetimes living within that fictional world; we return to our own world. For me, the world of art does form a part of my world but not in the physical sense; it forms a part of my mind. I read a book and it influences me and perhaps it’s a tiny corner at the back of mind but I have no idea how strongly that might influence my everyday life. Can we ever really tell how much a book has influenced our life?

It’s strange to think that art can change the way we think. In turn, this changes the way we see the world, which means that we may go about things differently. Perhaps this does change the form of the world, in an indirect manner. When you think deep enough, art does form a part of this world in ways beyond what we could ever imagine. Maybe we just like to pretend that it’s only pretend. Maybe we like to stay ignorant to the fact that art has the power to change everything. 

What do you think?

Is any music actually happy?

A while ago I was having a conversation about music (which isn’t all that surprising) when I suddenly thought about the difference between happy and sad music. Happy music we naturally associate with upbeat pop-like songs that put us in a good mood and make us feel like we can power through the day. Sad songs are thought of as having slow and acoustic melodies with deep and meaningful lyrics. However, it suddenly occurred to me that couldn’t this all just be false? Couldn’t all music be melancholic since that’s what causes people to write and sing in the first place?

I strongly believe that a lot of people write, sing or go into this kind of industry because they’ve dealt with a lot of powerful emotions and experiences. It’s actually the case with a lot of writers and singers – that they’ve dealt with either mental health issues or a tough past or some sort of struggle where they’ve had to be like, hey, I need somewhere to channel this energy in a way that isn’t me just taking it out on everyone. And I think it’s admirable because it’s hard to share these sorts of things through something as vulnerable as music.

I admit that sometimes I dismiss certain types/genres of music because it seemingly has no meaning to it. I listen to it on a base level, to just have fun, but I don’t really connect to it (and hence stick to my main taste in music). However, just because a song’s lyrics aren’t advanced, doesn’t mean the song itself doesn’t come from a hard place. It can be the happiest song in existence but perhaps it was channeled through a destructive mind. And this is so much like us as humans. Some humans act happy, like happy songs, when they’re actually struggling, and some humans embrace that struggling and acknowledge themselves, similar to sad songs. And when you think of it like that, all songs are worth something. They all have some origin to them that none of us could even try to understand. Just because a song is happy doesn’t mean it is happy.

So when we get joy out of ‘happy’ songs, is it even real? Is it just us embracing that music exists because we all feel and hurt too much? Maybe. But is there even anything wrong with this? If all music is sad, then does it make us bad people? Or are we just better at accepting ourselves?

Is all art man-made?

I’ve been thinking lately about art and what it means. I was reading something for my module on film theory and it made me think: is all art man-made? What even makes art art?

When most people think of the concept of art, they instantly think of paintings. In the most basic sense, that’s what art is, because it is something that is physically created and expressed via the mind’s capabilities of imagination. But literature is art too. And so are buildings. They’re designed and planned from seemingly nowhere and they represent something abstract. This makes art man-made, since these things all appear from human action.

However, what about sunsets? What about looking out at a field of flowers on a summer’s day? What about the way the snow falls on the edges of the branches, just enough to stay put and not fall to the ground? What about the tilt of a smile when it’s not quite meant to be there and tries to remain hidden but just can’t? What about the sky and the moon and the people you walk past everyday and every little thing in existence? Can’t any of these things be art?

Because if you can find beauty in something, then isn’t it artistic in nature? Maybe you believe in a God and in which case he is the artist of the world, but if you don’t, can something be art if it doesn’t have a creator? If you look hard enough at nature maybe you can find meaning to it, similarly to how you might read a book and see yourself reflected within it. Can’t looking at the sunset or a person’s mannerisms or any simple thing make you feel somehow comforted? As if it’s reaching into your soul on some other level that isn’t quite comprehensible. As if it’s a natural art that didn’t need to be thought up but just had to be noticed.

If these things are art, then art does not have to be man-made, it just has to exist.

 

Is Reading a Book the Same as Watching a Film?

A few weeks ago I was discussing the activity of reading and watching films with my brother. We are both really into TV shows and movies, however I’m also a huge reader which he most definitely is not. I remember him saying: “why read a book when you can just watch the film?” and this is when it came to my mind…

Reading is essentially the same as watching a film because it’s like creating your own film inside your head. You can decide the location, what it looks like (to a certain extent) and the emotional capacity. You are the director. Reading a book may take more effort than watching a film, in that you have to read the words, but it also stretches your imagination a lot more. Instead of relying on your eyes to understand the story, you are helping yourself understand the story by creating a visualisation of the book’s world inside your head. Just like a director, it isn’t your script and it isn’t your story, but the way it visually looks affects the impact it has on you hugely. And perhaps this is why books are loved by some and hated by others. It all depends on the angle you take, the way you connect to the visual screen, and the sounds that aren’t necessarily inscribed in the book but formed from your own imagination.

It’s interesting because a week or so ago I sat down for 3 hours to consistently read, and looking back it feels like I didn’t even live most of that day. But that’s because in my mind I didn’t. I didn’t live that day because in my head I was someone else. And that’s the power of your imagination completely taking over. That’s the power of not only watching a film and feeling as though you’re in it, but actually creating that vision inside your head and somehow slipping into a world that isn’t even viewable to anyone else.

I absolutely love films and I will forever continue to watch them, but isn’t it cool to think that you can accidentally create a unique film inside your head that no one else can see and no one else will ever see?

I don’t know about you, but I think it is.

How do you reignite excitement in things that have become normalised?

I’ve been thinking a fair amount recently about change – I wrote a post about it a week ago – but also what happens when there is no change. Sometimes I wonder about all the things in my life that have become normalised. Things like texting friends or eating food. It’s become a routine that sometimes I think about how I’ve lost my appreciation for it. Or not necessarily lost appreciation but lost its impact.

When you’ve become so used to something it isn’t as exciting anymore and I miss that. I try to recreate it sometimes by pushing my mind into the present and living it like it’s the first time again, but it’s hard. It’s surprisingly hard. I feel like the only way to stop this would be to cut myself off from everything for a while and then come back to it fresh, but how do you do something like that in a world where everything’s moving so quickly and everything’s so instant? It’s impossible.

I don’t know if there is really an answer or a solution to this. Maybe I’m just one of those people who lives in their head too much and is overthinking this. Or maybe some of you out there get this feeling too. I don’t know if I’m describing it in a way that’s understandable but I hope so.

Seeing things with new eyes again is sometimes all you need for a change of mindset. I think maybe it’s what I need. I just don’t know how to achieve it.

So I guess I’m asking: what do you do to reignite excitement in things that have become normalised? Or are you as confused about this as I am and are contemplating completely irrelevant things at midnight instead of sleeping? (because surely I can’t be the only one)