If you’ve seen Inside Out, you were probably amazed by just how well a movie primarily aimed towards children seemed to understand your brain. The movie, which takes place inside the brain of a young girl, personified details of our emotions in ways that were alternately hilarious and way too true. Earlier this week, Vulture ran a fascinating piece on everything the movie got right about the actual science of our brains. There was a LOT they got right, which is maybe why the movie feels so very personal.
In the movie, if Sadness touches one of Riley’s happy recollections, it can become tainted by sadness. That’s a scary proposition, and one that isn’t far from the truth. “They took a concept that is absolutely true in terms of how memories work,” Dr. Shohamy said. “When we retrieve a memory, we bring it back to life, and that will change the way it’s re-stored. It’s a complicated thing to grasp — it’s not like you take a file out and put it back exactly the way it was. They took that idea and used it in a way I thought was beautiful and accurate and incredibly helpful, from an educational standpoint. They made it seem so intuitive — when you bring a memory back from storage and something from the present touches it, that can change the memory.”The movie’s writers clearly had a lot of fun trying to physicalize the weird intricacies of the human brain, and there were a bunch of ideas they had to leave out: scenes or gags based around why we react emotionally to music, what secrets look like inside our mind, how thoughts and memories are connected to each other (rather than contained in individual spheres as they are in the finished film)… This one, though, is maybe the most brilliant. have you ever wondered why so many of us have more trouble remembering names than faces?
“We had these two departments, Names and Faces,” said del Carmen, laughing. “They hate each other. They don’t like to share information. Not only that, they’re called ‘Appointing Faces to Names.’ It’s kind of unreliable. So when you go to Faces, it’s like, we’ve got the faces over here and you’re like, ‘I have no problem with the face, but I’ve got to tie it to a name.’ ‘Well, that’s not my department. You want those guys down there.’
“And you see them, all their shelves are kind of like,” he waved his arms and belted out an onomatopoeia made entirely of vowels. “All the data is spilling out. And it’s like, ‘Thanks a lot.’ We couldn’t keep it in the movie! We loved that gag so much.”
They also played around with what the brain’s controls looked like. In one version, there were no controls; it was more like Jai Alai, with feelings and thoughts bouncing everywhere.
They also played around with giving each emotion their own console. But in the end, they realized the actual controls weren’t what was important.
Eggleston said that, at one point, Pete Docter felt it was important to know what each button on the console actually did, but in the end, the function of each lever and doohickey wasn’t that important. “What it ended up being in the film, there were a handful of specific needs, like they put a light bulb in it at one point, an idea. But the rest of it became not about the buttons on the console; it became about how the emotion used the buttons. It became more about the emotion doing something with the buttons than what the buttons actually were.”
Read more jettisoned ideas at i09.