We ought to read the film “Inside Out” against itself to reveal beneath the superficial pop-psychology (the level of the enunciated) altogether more deep and disturbing insights (at the level of the enunciation). Take, for example, the basic topological framework of the movie:
(1) Mission Control: The symbolic order. Here, there are “core” memories which, in actuality, are nothing more than what Lacan named “quilting points.” These quilting points guarantee the basic ‘sanity’ of the young girl. This is also the place of the fundamental fantasy, without which the little girl, as we see later, falls into subjective destitution;
(2) Personality Islands: The imaginary order. Here there are rows upon rows of and archives upon archives of memories. These form chains of succession, metonymic chains – they are what Lacan referred to as the signifying system, or S2. These are the places of images: lots and lots of iconic images make up the islands. This is how the little girl comes to know herself, her family, and her friends.
(3) The Black Hole Below: The psychoanalytic (second order) Real. Things fall into the real and they go missing forever.
(4) The Outside World, viewed on a screen from Mission Control: This is the non-psychoanalytic real, that is, the first order real. The naive dumb reality.
So, what happens? First, the quilting points fall out of mission control. In other words, they fall out of the symbolic. Nothing holds the symbolic together anymore and the girl slowly loses her shit. The imaginary works double time. Imaginary friend returns, delusions emerge, abstract thought gets flushed and the emotions, along with those quilting points within the sack, disintegrate into multiplicities. In other words, the image or the body falls into multiplicity.
Joy’s only response is to make the young girl wake up by sending her “exhilarating energy.” And when she does the young girl dreams herself as a dog and the dog splits into multiple parts. Is this not the unrepresentable jouissance of the drive surging forth into the anxiety dream?
All the personality islands, one by one, begin to fall into the dark hole. In other words, the imaginary collapses or is swallowed up by the real such that only the symbolic, in its multiplicity, remains without a sufficient mediator through the imaginary.
In other words: Inside Out is a movie about a young girl’s psychotic break, and her attempt to invent a solution. A better name for this movie would have been: The Sinthome.