It seems like a bit since Pixar has had a really, really good film. After the trio of near perfection WALL-E, Up and Toy Story 3 came the trio of the just okay, Cars 2, Brave and Monsters University. It was exciting to hear that Inside Out, Pixar’s newest bundle of joy, was in league with Finding Nemo and Up.
Inside Out is literally about emotions.
On the outside, it’s about Riley (voiced by Kaitlyn Dias), an 11-year-old girl whose parents (Kyle MacLachlan and Diane Lane) have moved from Minnesota to San Francisco after her father gets a new job. But on the inside is where the real story happens. It’s about the role played by five emotions: Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Disgust (Mindy Kaling), and Anger (Lewis Black). Together, they work the control panel for how Riley is feeling at any given moment, helping her assess every situation with the best way to respond. They also collect memories to store in the memory bank, including the coveted core memories. Their viewscreen is Riley’s. Given their roles, it’s imperative that Joy takes the lead most of the time in order to create the most joyous memories, as oppose to any of the others. Or so you’d think.
Even before the storyline is considered, this concept is impressively creative. The different aspects of how the mind is presented are insanely clever, even if some are more obvious than others (ie, ‘train of thought’ is an actual train). Naturally the best way to present an idea this great is with a story most can relate to, and the one being told of Riley is as simple as it gets. Moving to a whole new place can be stressful!
Riley (or Joy) tries to be supportive and happy with the move to a new city, even when presented with disappointment. When Joy and Sadness get lost together away from headquarters – and the control panel – it is up to Fear, Disgust and Anger to control Riley’s emotions the best they can. But they only know what their names indicate. You can’t fake happiness with fear, disgust or anger. This leads to a sudden display of distance, agitation and emotional void from Riley.
There’s intelligence at play here, and with great casting, memorable characters, and top notch visuals, there’s little going against this genius movie. The only aspect lacking is that, as a film about feelings, it doesn’t play up its emotional value quite as much as Pixar movies have been known to do, though it tries. You might cry, but it’s not guaranteed. You might laugh, but I can’t promise it. You’ll leave impressed and pleased, your imagination will wander, and maybe that’s enough.
Inside Out is a film that has so much going for it. You can’t help but put yourself in the place of Riley and imagine what your own emotional controllers are doing at this moment in time. This propeller of imagination makes for the best kind of movie that leaves a lasting impact because of how easy it is to involve yourself. There’s so much room to grow that a sequel is not only expected, it’s practically necessary.