Inside Out Review
Inside Out may be the most cartoony story Pixar has released but it is also the most complex and mature. On the one hand, the majority of it is set within the mind of an eleven year old girl and her imagination, but the movie bears in mind (no pun intended) that the human brain is a complex organ that operates on many levels and circuits. The subconscious, abstract thought, memory and emotion all had to be given a physical form for Inside Out. Like a lot of people, I trust Pixar, yet didn’t think that they had the talent to pull off something as unique, but crazy as the idea intended.
I like to think of my brain running like a computer with perfectly synthesized control in place that’s ready to deal with the many problems of the real world as the machine is quick to place the right emotion in time. Not every emotion is correct, but with the right mindset, the solution eventually comes. Everyone thinks differently and I wouldn’t have been surprised if the film’s focus picked a different approach. Inside Out also presents a human mind that does run like a machine, but actually gives a personality to each emotion to run it.
A girl named Riley is living happily with her family in Minnesota. Her goofy and friendly personality is thanks to the emotion that runs her the most, Joy (played by Amy Poehler). She works with the other emotions, Fear (played by Bill Hader), Anger (played by Lewis Black), Disgust (played by Mindy Kaling), and not so much with Sadness (played by Phyllis Smith) to ensure that Riley remains that happy kid she is. But as with life, every kid has to come to their first big event that begins their journey into a full human. In this case it’s a move.
Riley’s family moves from Minnesota to San Francisco, and the emotions are having a hard time figuring out the best reaction. Joy would like to continue for Riley to stay happy, but Sadness starts to have the effect of changing past memories from happy to sad. A fight between Joy and Sadness causes them to be sent to long term memory, leaving the other emotions to run Riley. The child clearly has trouble adapting to the big city life and starts to shut herself out, even considering running away. Joy and Sadness must get back to headquarters to fix Riley, but Joy may not know what’s best for everyone.
Like Toy Story, Monsters Inc, Finding Nemo and Up, Inside Out is a buddy trip story that works because of it’s leads. Amy Poehler and Phyllis Smith make a great time that work off of each other well. It’s not just these two as all folks casted are well known comedians that are well placed in their roles. It kind of reminded me of The Lego Movie, but while that was meant to be a full comedy, Inside Out is one of the biggest emotional journeys ever put on screen.
I would love to see the writing process that this movie went though as both stories (the real world and the world inside Riley) connect and play so well that either could operate on their own, but they still need each other. Riley represents that hard part of childhood when they discover that the world is such a big place that we all go through what she did; fear about what could happen to us, disgust at what we don’t understand, anger when things go wrong, sadness when we are at our lowest, and joy when we finally realize that things can still go well even after all of that.
I’ll give this five happy memories out of five. Pixar has officially returned to form! Inside Out is the kind of movie that everyone will talk about for a long time; the kind of word of mouth that no one could ever buy; the one that kids will love the imagination from; the one that adults will find fascinating and emotional. Inside Out is a perfect movie and needs to be seen. It’s not that you should consider watching this, but you NEED to see this.