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Inside Out

2015-06-22 07:05

What it's about:

Growing up can be a bumpy road, and it’s no exception for Riley, who is uprooted from her Midwest life when her father starts a new job in San Francisco. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions – Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness. The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley’s mind, where they help guide her through everyday life. As Riley and her emotions struggle to adjust to a new life in San Francisco, turmoil ensues in Headquarters. Although Joy, Riley’s main and most important emotion, tries to keep things positive, the emotions conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house and school.

What we thought:

I’m just going to say it right from the beginning, Disney and Pixar have teamed up and created what is without a doubt the best animation movie of the year.

The action starts at headquarters where we meet Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) Anger (Lewis Black) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith). Each one has a very specific job: Joy keeps her happy, Fear keeps her safe, Disgust keeps her from being poisoned physically and socially, Anger helps her see unfairness and Sadness who feels everything deeply still hasn’t figured out what her purpose is.

It is clear right from the beginning that Joy runs the show as we get a glimpse into Riley’s (Kaitlyn Dias) early childhood. It  also introduces us to Riley’s core memories which led to the development of her personality, each of them represented by an island; family, friendship, goof ball, hockey and honesty.

11-year-old Riley’s life changes when she moves from Minnesota to San Francisco. She leaves behind everything that is familiar to her: her childhood home, her school, her hockey team and her best friend. The move happens at a very tentative stage of Riley’s development, it’s on the cusp of puberty, and those pesky hormones.  

Initially Riley tries to be optimistic and be the happy, good girl that her mom (Diane Lane) and dad (Kyle MacLachlan) expect her to be. But every now and then a wave of sadness washes over her.
Over at headquarters some interesting things are happening. That wave of sadness that hits her now and then is literally Sadness touching a specific core memory.

On one of the biggest days of Riley’s new life, her first day at school things go horribly wrong and at headquarters Joy and Sadness get transported to where Riley’s memories are kept leaving Anger, Fear and Disgust in charge. Needless to say Riley’s emotions take a turn for the worst, when introducing herself to her class she ends up in tears, she fights with her parents and her best friends and she loses interest in hockey. One by one her islands start crumbling.

In order to save 'their girl' Joy and Sadness have to make it back to headquarters and to get there they have to overcome some obstacles. They meet a friend along the way, Bing Bong (Richard Kind), Riley’s imaginary childhood friend who helps them and ultimately sacrifices himself. It is a very poignant scene which heralds that Riley has finally let go of her childhood as she moves towards her teenager years.

I have to add while the pair travel through Riley’s mind they come across the train of thought, abstract thinking, long term memory, forgotten memories and my personal favourite, dreamland. I have often imagined that this is exactly how dreams play off, like movies.

There are so many smart and funny moments to mention and I really don’t want to give the story away.
Ultimately Joy and Sadness are the main characters in this story. Joy learns an important lesson. As an adult viewer it hit me right in the feelings and sometimes we need to be reminded that in life there really can’t be any joy without some sadness.

Phyllis Smith who voiced Sadness was amazing! She totally embodied the emotion to the full.

There is a lot happening here, the story of moving house becomes a goodbye to childhood. It is bittersweet. There are also important lessons to be learnt about dealing with emotions and what happens when we let one emotion take control of us. It is a fest for the eye as it’s colourful and bright which will keep younger viewers entertained. It caters for everyone as the story will resonate with both younger and older audiences who will understand the deeper levels of this movie.

It really is a wonderful movie! And totally worth your money.

Stay until the very end where we get a look into the mind of cats and dogs, it is hilarious!

Oh and sidenote: There’s an opening short film called LAVA about two lonely volcanoes. It is just beautiful.

Read more on:    amy poehler  |  movies

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Fede Dedeu 2015-06-20 09:52 PM
You listed the music composer as the director, surely as a movie reviewer/critic you would know better?

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