Inside Out

directed by Pete Docter

***½ out of 4 stars


I wasn’t a big fan of the last three Disney Pixar entries(Cars 2, Brave, Monster University). To me, the best Pixar films have been the ones that weren’t afraid to shake things up(Wall-E, Up, Toy Story 3) leaving young and old audiences alike with something to think about, besides just being entertained. Which is why I’m happy to report the geniuses at Pixar have finally done it again with Inside Out, a manically-entertaining roller coaster of an animated movie, and one of the best films I’ve seen this year so far.

A concept that seems too cutesy at first(okay, sometimes it is), the story takes us inside of the head of the eleven year old Riley, animating her different emotions in the form of Joy(Amy Poehler), Sadness(Phyllis Smith), Anger(Lewis Black, best in show), Fear(Bill Hader), and Disgust(Mindy Kaling). Joy constantly stays battles with the other emotions to make sure everyday is happy for Riley. But when Riley moves from her rural Midwestern home to the congested San Francisco, Joy can barely keep Sadness and Anger from taking over, as Riley starts to feel out of her comfort zone. Eventually, when an accident causes Joy and Sadness to be sucked out of Headquarters(the Brain) and deserted into Riley’s memory, she loses the ability to express those emotions, and it is up to Anger, Fear, and Disgust to help Riley emotionally navigate in her new world. Hilarious chaos ensues, naturally, as Joy and Sadness try to get back to Headquarters.

Sound complicated? I could see some parents saying that. But there’s no way you won’t have a good time, all while having your very own emotions touched, especially as a life altering decision is planted into Riley’s brain. Thank the filmmakers involved for mixing what goes on in and out of Riley’s and other character’s heads like pros. Directed by Pete Docter(Oscar winner for Up), the story is wholly original, with some of the best animation ever(wait till you see what they do with San Francisco), they have created something that gives you laughs(Anger kills it), scares(the deserted memory dump, aka subconscious), and tears. The cries come big time in the film’s final act, as Joy learns how to work with Sadness, making Riley finally able to express her true emotions to her parents about her missing of home. Inside Out belongs in the animated time-capsule. It’s one of Pixar’s personal best.


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