Inside Out

Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Bill Hader, Mindy Kaling, Lewis Black, Kaitlyn Dias
Directed by Pete Docter
Rating: B+

In an all new and original Disney/Pixar creation, Inside Out is a nostalgic film that reaches a deep level of emotions.

There are five basic feelings: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger in 11-year-old, Riley. Her life is uncomplicated and happy until she moves away to San Francisco where there is broccoli on pizza and she has none of her belongings. She must learn what it’s like to rebuild a home and friendships in a new city. When her first day moved in proves a challenge for Joy to keep her happy the other emotions go crazy. Sadness is overwhelmed and can’t help tarnishing happy memories when she touches them. Joy’s stress leads to a tug-of-war with Sadness and they lose Riley’s core memories; a day with her best friend, learning how to play hockey, and goofing off with her father. While Joy and Sadness leave the “headquarters” where emotions take control of Riley, Fear, Disgust, and Anger try to keep her sane without much success.

One of Pixar’s strengths when creating a movie is keeping the audience in mind. Most of their movies are about growing up, which adults can relate to, and it’s through a young character which children enjoy watching. Inside Out uses five emotions to tell a story of childhood and how it gets complicated when they can blend together. Sadness feels useless but it’s through Riley’s new experience of moving that makes her role stand out. Joy strives to keep upbeat throughout the search back to headquarters, but has to lean on Sadness at times. The adults in the audience might be able to understand how sadness can be a necessary part of life when too much joy can be overwhelming.

The cast fit their roles perfectly. Amy Poehler’s perky Joy can bring a smile to anyone’s face. As Joy, she can lift the audience up when the storyline moves in a downcast direction. As the other lead, Phyllis Smith uses her soft, gloomy voice to take the tone down a notch. Her character is sympathetic as she can’t help but be immune to Joy’s nature. Then there’s Bill Hader as Fear, Mindy Kaling as Disgust, and Lewis Black as Anger who are all not positive emotions but with the balance of Joy keep Riley in check.

While these are all of Riley’s emotions being played out on screen, her emotions teach a lesson of support. Family has always been an important aspect of Riley’s life and when she loses control of her emotions, she hurts them through her words and actions. Adults might remember the difficult years of puberty on the brink of appearing and they just can’t control how to feel. It’s a warning to the young ones in the audience that a challenging time is approaching but hopefully they can lean on family and friends to get through it.

Inside Out takes the audience on a roller coaster of emotions. The audience is guaranteed to feel happy, sadness, and anxiety through the mediums of humor and stressful situations. Like Pixar’s previous works on growing up (i.e. Toy Story and Monsters, Inc.) this movie is another great example that the future might be all right.


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