Inside Out (2015)
Inside Out (2015)

Genre: Fairy Tale Running Time: 1 hr. 34 min.

Release Date: June 19th, 2015 MPAA Rating: PG

Director: Pete Docter, Ronaldo Del Carmen Actors: Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Richard Kind, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, Kaitlyn Dias, Diane Lane, Kyle MacLachlan




he creativity runs rampant in Pixar’s “Inside Out,” producing brilliant representations of universal notions, given life through brightly colored, exceptionally perceptive (and personable) animations. Though infinitely inventive, “Inside Out” ironically (and arguably) doesn’t generate quite the same level of heartfelt emotion found in Pixar’s very best (the most sympathetic entity in this film just might be an imaginary one). But the screentime is shrewdly split amongst numerous characters of varied and magnified attributes, as well as between two separated, parallel storylines – for a keenly cinematic balancing act of insight and understanding.

When Riley Anderson was born, the emotion Joy (Amy Poehler) stood alone in the “headquarters” of her mind. But soon, other emotions appeared, including Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Disgust (Mindy Kaling), and Anger (Lewis Black). As Riley aged, Joy and the other emotions learned to work together to bring balance to both her memories and the branching islands of the young girl’s personality.

At age eleven, Riley’s life is uprooted by a family move from their Minnesotan hometown to a drab apartment building in San Francisco – prompting her emotions to work overtime to alleviate the situation. While governing – then quarreling over – a disastrous episode on the first day of school, Joy and Sadness are accidentally transported to the outer regions of Riley’s long-term memory, forcing the duo to attempt a perilous journey across the expanses of her mazelike mind in order to return to the command center before the other emotions lead the dispirited girl permanently astray.

“Inside Out” boasts a nearly nonstop onslaught of mindboggling creativity – all while cartoonishly visualizing the relatable traumas of normal childhood. In many ways, it approaches the human mind like Woody Allen does in his reflective ensembles, filled with overabundant negative emotions that make simple enjoyment a rather difficult undertaking – spiraling down into a rabbit hole of neurotic, frenetic, vivid concoctions. The endlessly fascinating concepts may borrow a thing or two from “Minority Report,” “Despicable Me,” the “Little Big Planet” video games, and Rube Goldberg, but just tackling fleeting notions of brain freezes, dreams, fading memories, abstract thoughts, the subconscious, and the fear of clowns is absolutely inspired.

The whole picture is routinely smile-inducing, crafting the perfect blend of comedy, action, and sentimentality, as Pixar is widely known for. It’s also smartly aimed at adults as much as children – or even more so, as evidenced by a witty reference to “Chinatown” that kids will definitely miss. And, refusing to skimp on any aspect, the music is once again sensationally composed by Pixar regular Michael Giacchino, who has a way with striking up unforgettable tunes. As an intuitive exploration of maturation and the complexities of the mind, “Inside Out” is staggeringly artistic; and as a feel-good, family-friendly misadventure stocked with moral and emotional revelations, it’s a visionary piece of grand entertainment. Pixar has always been a studio to set the bar high, and “Inside Out” does not disappoint.

– The Massie Twins

  • 9/10