The movie is easily one of Pixar’s best films to date, tugging our heartstrings in a joyful and poignant ride into the psyche of an 11-year old girl who struggles through a turning point in her life. It’s an imaginative, original, and certainly relatable coming-of-age story; you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll enjoy every minute of it.
Inside Out follows Riley (voiced by Kaitlyn Dias), an 11-year old girl with loving parents, friends, and a thing for hockey. For years, her emotions have been led by the exuberant and wide-eyed Joy (Amy Poehler) who ensures that even the most challenging days result in happy memories in Riley’s psyche. When the family moves to San Fransisco, despite Joy’s can-do attitude, Riley struggles to keep her emotions in check. When Joy desperately attempts to regain control, an accident throws Joy and Sadness into the maze of Long Term Memory leaving Anger, Disgust, and Fear to grapple with Riley’s situtation.
Since Pixar’s critically acclaimed and much beloved “Up”, the studio has released only one original story (Brave), two sequels (Toy Story 3 and Cars 2) and a prequel (Monsters University). With the studio’s lineup of more sequels (Toy Story 4, Cars 3, Finding Dory, The Incredibles 2), it’s refreshing to know that when the studio decides to present a fresh story, they can do so with impressive ingenuity, creativity, and whimsy.
Inside Out is certainly one of the best Pixar films to date, with thought-provoking family drama, an imaginative take on human emotion, and a creative and colorful adventure through the human mind that will please adults and kids alike.
By anthropomorphizing emotions, Pixar gives new and colorful characters for young viewers to enjoy and plenty of ripe personality gags taken from their namesakes (i.e. sadness is endearingly depressive). But this doesn’t fall into gimmicky territory, rather it allows the movie to breathe life into the core message, which is emotional maturity and the power of feeling emotions as you go through life, whether they be sad, happy, or something else.
The settings in Riley’s mind are cleverly done; the Long Term Memory Maze, Imagination Land, Dream Productions, the Subconscious, and the Memory Dump. But while these “adventure places” are essential to the story, it’s the nostalgic and relatable “memories” of Riley that tug at the heart, whether it involves her goofing off with her bestfriend, playing hockey with her dad, or being cheered on by her friends and parents. It’s the kind of non-verbal storytelling, much like “Up”, that Pixar is most realistic and accurate in comprehending emotion.
Inside Out is a terrific return to form by Pixar Animation. As one of the most bankable Hollywood animation brands, Pixar brings a new movie that reflects on the power of emotion and growth while still proving that it is the king of imaginative storytelling.