The brain and the heart are involved in a tug-of-war for control of Paul’s actions in the 2016 Walt Disney Animation Studios short, “Inner Workings.” Paul works at a very boring job. His brain is pragmatic and always looking at the worst possibility in every situation. Paul’s heart wants to get out and have some fun. It’s adventurous and free-spirited. Eventually, Paul’s brain and heart find a way to work together to make life fun for Paul and improve the lives of his coworkers by association.

This short is a great metaphor for life. Following your heart leads you down an emotional path while following your brain leads you down a logical path. Both are necessary for a successful life, but they have to be able to work together. The brain demonstrates what happens if you’re always afraid of the worst-case scenario. Never is this more evident than when the brain overreacts to the possibility of wearing sunglasses. The brain is convinced Paul will be laughed at, back into a chainsaw juggler and be killed by a flying chainsaw. That’s a time to follow the heart and not the brain.

Eventually, the brain realizes its complete control over Paul’s life is leading to disappointment for the heart and for Paul, himself. The brain realizes that Paul might live a long life, but it won’t be fulfilled if the heart isn’t allowed control sometimes. The pair compromise with the brain allowing the heart to pick lunch and the brain to start having fun with Paul’s method of data input for his job. It leads to Paul having fun at work and his coworkers noticing the job doesn’t have to be monotonous. Soon, everyone in the office is dancing while they work. Paul’s brain allowing his heart control, and having some fun as well, leads to a better work environment for the entire office. That’s something we should pay attention to going forward.

This was a good short that delivers a poignant message in a fun and entertaining way. It honestly felt like a Pixar “Inside Out” short with how the brain and heart were both drawn. While they aren’t just emotions in this short, there’s some definite similarities in the inspiration for “Inside Out” and the inspiration for “Inner Workings.” It’s a fun way to spend six minutes.

Rating: 4 stars

What did you think of “Inner Workings?”

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Jeremy Brown

Jeremy has been a big Disney fan since he was a kid growing up during the Disney Renaissance. One day he hopes to go to every Disney Park in the world.

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