- Wade from Elemental connects with others easily through care and compassion, a psychological technique called “joining.”
- Elemental initially struggled but later became a comeback story, finding its audience and earning $489 million worldwide.
- Positive opinions like that of therapist Jonathan Decker could contribute to an even bigger comeback for Elemental and the possibility of a sequel.
A therapist explains how Elemental‘s Wade connects with other people so easily through real-life psychological concepts. Elemental follows the story of Wade Ripple and Ember Lumen as they figure out life in a city where fire, water, earth, and air-based denizens cohabitate. Wade, a water element, is a highly emotional figure who has a strong sense of empathy and compassion for others.
Professional therapist Jonathan Decker breaks down the psychology of Wade in a new video from Cinema Therapy. Encouraging audiences to “be a Wade,” Decker praised Wade’s character throughout the video. What Wade does so well in Elemental, he says, is “showing interest” in other people by demonstrating “care and compassion for another being.” Decker clarified that this represents a psychological technique called “joining,” wherein a person connects with others through matching their energies or otherwise meeting them where they are at. Check out the full explanation from Decker below:
“I think instead of trying to be interesting, you be interested. You draw people in simply by showing interest in who they are. And Wade doesn’t do that exactly in the stadium, but what he does show is care and compassion for another being. And he’s inviting other people to join in with that. In counseling it’s called ‘joining.’ And there are numerous techniques for how to join with a person. There’s different styles. There’s things like matching where if they’re loud, you go loud. If they go soft, you go soft. Yeah, that sort of thing. Because it makes them feel like they’re with a kindred spirit. And I think techniques are fine, but none of it matters if it’s not sincere. None of it matters, if it’s just a technique.”
Like Wade, Elemental Connected With Audiences In Its Own Way
Elemental initially struggled upon its debut. After earning a softer-than-expected $29.6 million opening, many wrote off the Pixar film as a flop. However, Elemental went on to earn $489 million total at the worldwide box office, exhibiting impressive legs and making a profit. The critical reviews were more of a mixed bag for Elemental, but it still achieved Certified Fresh status on Rotten Tomatoes with a 74%.
Though its initial performance spelled disappointment for Pixar, Elemental eventually became the comeback story of the summer and found its audience. This is especially impressive when considering there were comparisons between the new movie and Pixar’s 2015 hit Inside Out. While not identical in concept, Inside Out’s personification of individual emotions bore likeness to the element-people of Elemental. However, there was clearly enough that separated the two in viewers’ minds, and that is likely thanks to Elemental‘s distinctive characters, such as Wade.
Aided by positive opinions like that of Decker, Elemental has the chance to make an even bigger comeback in the public eye. The movie’s Disney+ debut was one of the best of the year on the streaming platform. With its streaming renaissance comes the heightened possibility for Elemental 2, as audiences rediscover the animated feature’s merits. Perhaps a follow-up film could allow the Elemental universe to dive further into the psychological themes that Decker observed from the first film.
Source: Cinema Therapy