Inside Out

Posted June 15, 2015 by in


Total Score

5/ 5

Quick Stats

Genre: animation
MPAA Rating: PG
Actors: Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Lewis Black
Length: 94 minutes
Release Date: 6-9-2015
Studio: Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Pictures
What We Thought

Whimsical, touching, humorous, even visionary, Inside Out is far and away one of the year’s best films so far.

by Daniel Hodgson
Full Article
Inside OutEach of our feelings serves a purpose.  Fear keeps us out of danger.  Anger helps us assert ourselves when life isn’t fair to us.  Disgust keeps us from bad food and bad people.  But what purpose does Sadness serve
     All of these emotions live within us all, and help us make our decisions.  Inside Out takes on an imaginative journey inside the mind of an 11-year old girl, Riley (voice of Kaitlyn Dias), who moves from Minnesota to San Francisco.
     Riley is a happy girl, who loves playing ice hockey, hates broccoli, and is quite a goofball.  At the center of her mind is a control room, where Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), and Joy (Amy Poehler) respond to the events around Riley.
     The new home is drab and depressing, but Joy is determined to make the best of things, so Riley plays hockey with her mom with brooms and a balled-up newspaper.  It’s a joyful experience, and forms a new memory, becoming part of Riley’s being.
     However, San Francisco is a big adjustment for Riley, and nothing goes as planned.  The moving truck went to the wrong place, so their clothes and belongings won’t arrive until days later.  Riley misses Minnesota and the friends she left behind, and looks back on happy memories with sadness.
     Moving is an ordeal for anyone, especially a kid.  Making matters worse, something goes wrong in Riley’s mind:  a freak accident takes Joy and Sadness out of the control tower and into the psychological world beyond.
     Without them, Riley cannot be happy, or cry—something she needs to be able to do.  Joy and Sadness must go on an adventure through Riley’s mind, through the Maze of Long-Term Memory, out of the Prison of the Subconscious, where hidden fears are kept, and beyond to return to the control tower, so Riley can be happy again.
     Inside Out is about the human experience, capturing what it’s like to be a thinking, feeling person.  Have you ever had a song pop in your head for no reason?  Inside Out is about that.  Have you ever had a messed-up dream?  Inside Out shows how that happens.
     What makes Inside Out so special is that it is about the experience of being human on a universal level.  The film gets inside several characters heads, Riley’sInside Out mother and father (Diane Lane and Kyle MacLachlan), her teacher and others, and shows how each of us think and feel differently.  The inside of Riley’s dad’s head looks like an ESPN show, whereas her mom’s looks like the TV set of The View.  The conversations inside their heads go very differently, yet they both have the same basic emotions, Joy and Sadness, Anger and Fear, and finally Fear, feelings we all share, no matter who you are.
     Not only is Inside Out deeply insightful, but also terrifically entertaining, filled with delightfully witty dialog and clever observations.  It is also the cartooniest of Pixar’s films, with several scenes of slapstick humor, playing like a feature-length Looney Tunes short.  Put the two together, its intelligence and its playfulness, and what you have is a film that’s great for both adults and children alike, as you would expect from a Pixar film.
     The casting is superb.  Amy Poehler is perfectly bubbly as Joy, bringing sheer exuberance to each of Joy’s lines.  Lewis Black is spot-on as Anger, delivering his lines in a suitable growl, while Phyllis Smith as Sadness sounds like a bout of depression personified. Through the film’s fantastic voice work, we are able to hear how our feelings sound.
     Whimsical, touching, humorous, even visionary, Inside Out is far and away one of the year’s best films so far.  The film made me smile from beginning to end.  Just like its psychological heroine, Inside Out is pure Joy.  5 out of 5 stars!

About the Author

Daniel Hodgson

Daniel has a degree in film from the University of Texas at Austin, and writes about himself in the third-person, because that's the fashion.


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