Inside Out Review

Inside Out is the latest movie from Disney and Pixar! It’s a fun little movie that will be entertaining for adults and kids alike! This movie focuses on the inner workings of the brain, emotions, and generally just gives fun animated life to our lives as humans. Inside Out came out in 2015, produced by Pixar Animation Studios. The movie is written and co-directed by Pete Docter and takes place in the mind of Riley Andersen, a young girl who lives in Minnesota with her parents. Riley is voiced by Kaitlyn Dias, who does a great job in her debut voice role.

The film focuses on mainly five emotions in Riley’s head. Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust rule her brain. They live in “Headquarters” and operate controls to run Riley’s brain, for better or for worse. Joy is apparently in charge most of the time, and it’s strange that the other emotions don’t really understand why Sadness exists (plot point!). The writers don’t place the human emotions in the heart– nope, these emotions are solely living and processed in the brain. The voices for these emotions were perfectly cast, as Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, and Mindy Kaling, respectively, all have incredible range, talent, and most of all, recognizable, fun, and likable voices. They’re the perfect choice for their respective emotions, and they all work together to try and guide Riley and help her adjust to life as she moves from her house to a new city with her parents (voiced by the Diane Lane and ever-wonderful Kyle MacLachlan).

Co-directed and co-written by Ronnie del Carmen, the film boasts an impressive music score. Michael Giacchino did a nice job, as the music goes from light to dark depending on the needs of the scene. It’s amply used to keep scenes rolling and gives the movie a nice flow. They could have gone with pop song after pop song if they wanted to– wouldn’t it have been a great excuse to slip an Ariana Grande or Iggy Azalea song in there? Nope, Inside Out keeps it instrumental, and thank the heavens for that. The last thing I wanted to see was Riley fiercely skating to score a goal in hockey while “Put A Ring On It” or some equivalent is being belted out.

The producers of Inside Out also did a nice thing: they did their research. They consulted with psychologists and even revised the movie to put an emphasis on human emotions being mirrored when it comes to interpersonal relationships and even be moderated by them. The movie is perhaps scientific and overly concerned about being accurate when it comes to the neurological subject they are portraying. For a film that’s mainly marketed to kids(at least on the surface), I have to say, it’s refreshing. Pixar and Disney could have easily turned this movie into a circus of over the top caricatures and flashy animation, but they decided to take everything slightly more seriously, and Inside Out is not only a more watchable movie because of it– it’s genuinely delightful.

Back to the concept at hand– Riley’s mind is dominated by five major islands. These islands are basically Family, Friendship, Honesty, Hockey, and Goofball. This was interesting to watch, because it breaks down a human life basically into categories of what’s important to them. Apparently, they can also be breached as well— Riley inadvertently makes the Honesty island start to dissipate when she takes her mom’s credit card without asking permission first. I liked that the movie showed that kids have a concept of ethics and know what’s wrong and what will be frowned on socially. It’s a nice evolution from the old-school thought of ‘doing wrong, getting punished’ and ‘kids don’t know any better’.

Riley goes through a number of experiences with her emotions at the helm, and they all come up where necessary. Maybe it’s not the most scientific depiction of a fictional, computer generated child, but hey, it’s a movie. They all come in at different points, creating sad core memories, getting into trouble, trying to compensate for other situations that are going on. When the more negative emotions– disgust, anger, fear– try to take over Riley’s brain once Joy goes missing, Riley bears the rotten fruits and starts to see her personality islands crumble and go into the Memory Dump, all while being distanced from the people in her life and the things she likes to do.

The emotions generally turn out to serve a purpose, however, and they all work together to help make Riley’s life as happy and successful as possible. They’re really like her friends, or information about her state and life, but they’re also animated and can make their own decisions, so make of that what you will. Overall, Inside Out is a complex rendering of an animated movie about what’s going on inside the brain and how that manifests. Kids should be able to come away a little more enlightened as to how the brain works– or at least intrigued enough to maybe learn a little bit more about how their brain works. A pretty big accomplishment for a ‘kid’s movie’.

Go see it for the cute concept, stay for the surprising amount of depth that Inside Out offers! It really is a movie anyone can enjoy. Even my brother, the rugged roofing contractor, loved it. Check it out!


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