Inside Out

Reviewed by Mitch Burns


Directed by: Pete Docter (Up, Monster, Inc.)

Voice Talents: Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, Kaitlyn Dias, Kyle MacLachlan, Diane Lane, and Richard Kind.

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Pixar makes films for adults. As I sat through Pixar’s newest creation, Inside Out, I couldn’t help but wonder when Pixar started to care more about the adults leaving happy than they worry about the little ones. Inside Out comes across as almost too heady for a child to comprehend fully, and I’m wondering if there will be a disconnect with some children. Pixar is getting deep, they always have, but now I wonder if these films are now for the adults that were between 5 and 10 when Toy Story was first released. This hilarious Tumblr post shows the timeline of Pixar, and how it has “evolved”:

2015-07-11 19_26_40-This One Tumblr Post Perfectly Describes Every Pixar Movie“What if Feelings had Feelings”, Pixar has become very meta, but does it work? Sort of.

“Inside Out” tells the story of eleven year old Riley (Kaitlyn Dias), She lives in Minnesota with her Father (Kyle MacLachlan) and mother (Diane Lane). Riley’s life is shaken up when her father gets a job in San Francisco, and the family is forced to move, leaving behind everything Riley has come to know and love.

It’s inside Riley’s head that where we really see all of this play out. The emotions, who help guide Riley in her day-to-day life, consist of Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling). The five emotions try to handle the situation in headquarters, but their fearless leader Joy, and the precocious Sadness, are sent out into the outer depths of Riley’s long-term memories, far away from headquarters. Fear, Anger and Disgust are left to guide Riley through her life, but without Joy or Sadness they are having troubles. Joy and Sadness are on a trek through a dangerous world they don’t know, as they try to make their way back to headquarters.

As I said earlier, I’m not sure kids will like this one as much as the adults will. There are definitely a lot in here to keep kids happy, for example, the character Fear and Anger, and the very bright colors and beautiful world. Inside out definitely isn’t as accessible as something like Minions, it doesn’t rely on slapstick humor or silly jokes, it tries to tell a beautiful story. I think most kids will enjoy Inside Out, but I don’t think it’s one kids will reach for before the likes of Finding Nemo or Toy Story.

Another issue with Inside Out, for me and the kids, is the actuality that it is very sad, maybe too sad. Overall, I think the message is wonderful, it explains how sadness is sometimes good and sends a message of taking the good with the bad. To be honest though, I left feeling pretty dismal. During the film I sat in the same row as two families, each with a young daughter, both daughters cried at separate times, one daughter even had to be brought into her mother’s lap as tears streamed down her face. I cried, I’ll admit, albeit at a different time than both these little girls. It’s an emotional movie (literally), and it’s great that the film can elicit such emotion, but when is it too much?

Speaking of Sadness, The character Sadness is the best character in the film, if not one of the best of the year so far. The voice actor Phyllis Smith, who you may know from The Office, is terrific, perfectly cast. As is Amy Poehler as Joy, Poehler exudes joy in real life and it seeps through into the character like a sponge. Lewis Black as Anger is also quite good, and Mindy Kaling as Disgust and Bill Hader as Fear are both great choices to play the roles, but they aren’t given enough screen-time and ultimately underdeveloped. Although, most Kids will likely walk away saying they liked Fear and Bing Bong.

Bing Bong, voiced exceptionally by Richard Kind, is the character most kids will remember most about this film. He did resonate with me especially, but he represents a portion of life that most young kids will relate to more than adults.

The movie is imaginative, what Pete Docter and the Pixar crew have created here is stellar, far more intelligent than most animated films, and most summer movies actually. It’s imaginative, but it’s the familial moments that resonated with me most profoundly. The portrayal of the family at the center of Inside Out is authentic, parents and kids will relate to this family, and see their own family life in them. Just remember, bring tissues!

Grade: B


Thanks for Reading!

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